You’ve probably seen the headlines: “Eviction Epidemic Hurts Families” or “Housing Prices Skyrocket Again” or “Housing Crisis Worsens”. What all these stories have in common is lack of good data to back them up. There is no eviction epidemic. We’ve looked at many cities across the country, and whenever an eviction rate is mentioned, there’s nothing saying what it should be. Usually the information provided to the press is inexact or partial, not taking into account all the rental housing or explaining the difference between filings and removals.
And we know why prices go up.
When housing demand outpaces supply, people with more money can offer more money for scarce units. Why doesn’t supply keep up? Because local government has the clamps down on housing production. Local city councils have made things worse for providers and residents with many confusing and counter-productive laws affecting tenant-landlord law. Seattle just passed a ban on evictions in winter months. That will increase risk and costs, and those costs make rents “skyrocket.”
When did the housing “crisis” start?
Nobody can answer that question definitively because there is no quantitative measure of a “crisis” the way there is for a recession or unemployment. People who want to regulate private rental property want people to believe that it’s people who own and manage rentals that caused the crisis, not lack of supply nor regulation. Too many governments have been persuaded this crisis needs more rules, regulations, taxes, fees but not more housing.
Are you concerned by this? Have you seen your local government pass more and more rules, restrictions, fees, and taxes that affect your ability to provide provide housing?
We at Seattle For Growth think it is time to fight back. That’s why we’re forming the Center for Housing Economics, to tell the real story of how housing works, what makes its price go up, and that your work every day helps real people who need housing. Learn more about this organization and consider a contribution at SeattleForGrowth.org.
Our work will be to
- Provide press and policy makers with well-researched data to counter the anti-housing provider narrative
- Offer better solutions based on research; and
- Change the narrative — your work is positive for the economy and community. You provide housing.