Five decades of increasing rent in cities like New York convinced many that supply and demand doesn’t work in housing. Covid quickly dispelled this myth. And if you look at housing production, it’s easy to see supply and demand was alive and well all long. We were building less housing per decade than during the Great Depression. Supply didn’t keep up with demand, so housing costs soared.
Building the multifamily housing we need is often ILLEGAL or severely limited because of zoning codes, parking requirements, endless project reviews and permitting, and frivolous multi-year lawsuits. In supposedly liberal New York City, even approving low-income affordable housing on city land can take years.
Its time to get rid of the laws restricting housing, something forward-looking jurisdictions like Oregon, Washington, and Minneapolis are doing. New York politicians at all levels should be advocating to legalize housing. Gut zoning regulations and approve projects such as the Soho rezoning, the Gowanus rezoning, and the Anable Basin project.
When you have abundant housing, landlords know they must offer competitive rent, and fix the refrigerator, and accept your housing vouchers, and not hassle you. Otherwise, you’ll move down the street, or somewhere with a better commute, or closer to your friends, or somewhere you and your partner can share. And they’ll be stuck with an empty space losing money. Abundant housing offers us more choice and is the best protection a tenant could ever want.