July 30, 2013

MEGAN MCARDLE: WHO’S WORSE? RENTERS, OR OWNERS? “I think the experience of New York is instructive. It suggests that if we shifted away from the current high rates of homeownership, we might lose some of the skewed political incentives to artificially restrict the supply of housing . . . but only by replacing them with different, equally troubling incentives. . . . You used to hear that rent controls were a stupid vestige of the past, slowly but surely being phased out. But the city keeps stepping in to slow down the pace of decontrol. And no wonder, if renters are a majority of the city, and the majority of renters are in some sort of controlled or subsidized housing. Meanwhile, you don’t even get the benefits that should accrue to a high-renter city — like fewer ridiculous zoning restrictions — because rent control regulations have given tenants property-like interests in their apartments.”