Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Brookings Institute: "Oregon's New Law Will Not Fix the Underlying Problem of High Housing Costs"

Jenny Schuetz, the David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote an article discussing the shortcomings of Oregon's new rent control program. According to Schuetz, "Oregon's new law will not fix the underlying problem of high housing costs, and it could even make matters worse for vulnerable families." She highlights the two biggest problems exacerbating housing affordability across the US:

  1. Low wages and unstable incomes generated by labor markets
  2. In-demand cities failing to build enough housing to keep up with demand, particularly in neighborhoods with good public schools and access to jobs and transportation
While she acknowledges that Oregon legislators made efforts to avoid some of the pitfalls of previous rent control programs, she does not believe it will be enough to stave off unintended consequences. As an example, she states that a developer who had planned to build 8 units may now build only 5, in order to stay under the threshold that would trigger rent restrictions. Schuetz also believes the increased tenant protections included in the bill could encourage some landlords to screen out less desirable tenants, such as families with young children. Read more.

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