Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Opinion | Rent control is not the answer to the housing crisis

Opinion | Rent control is not the answer to the housing crisis

Brett Christophers’s April 25 commentary, “Here’s the real problem with asset management,” criticized housing providers supported by institutional investors and suggested that policymakers implement new layers of regulations such as rent control or prohibiting asset managers from being able to invest in housing.

The reality is that the United States has not invested enough in housing and, as a result, communities across the country are facing a housing supply crisis. Research conducted by Hoyt Advisory Services finds that the United States needs to build 4.3 million more apartments by 2035 to meet demand.

To meet that goal, multifamily-housing businesses need sufficient private capital investments. Those investments provide a portion of funds required to build, renovate and operate rental housing. Investments are made by diverse investors, including pension funds representing teachers, firefighters and police officers, and university and nonprofit endowments.

The piece proposed rent control as a solution. Decades of research has proved that rent control or rent-stabilization policies are harmful to housing affordability and impede needed investment in more apartment homes.

Mr. Christophers is correct that the nation has not invested enough in housing. Without that investment, other solutions need to be considered. We need state and local policymakers to stand up to NIMBYism, reform zoning and fast-track permitting. The federal government can support those efforts, including by incentivizing land-use reform and financing more affordable housing. There are real solutions to the housing crisis, but it takes lawmakers to support real solutions — not rent control.

Sharon Wilson Géno, Washington

The writer is president of the National Multifamily Housing Council.

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