Here’s Why Your Rent Is So Ridiculously High (Rent Control)

With the average asking rent rising over $3,000, New Yorkers continue to wonder “Why is the rent so high?”. Business Insider Writer Josh Barro detailed several key reasons in an article titled “The 8 Reasons WHY New York Rents Are So Ridiculously High” to offer insight into the rising cost.  He attributes factors such as limited space, high property taxes,  and high constructions costs. Interestingly enough, #3 on his list is “Rent Control”.  Here is an excerpt:

 

 

3. Rent stabilisation raises your rent if you’re not rent stabilised. While the average rent for available apartments in New York City is now over $3,000, the U.S. Census Bureau says renters in New York City were only paying a median of $1,125 in 2011. What gives?

The answer is, there are lots of cheap apartments in New York. You just can’t get one of them, because they’re rent stabilised, and tenants with great rent stabilised deals cling to their apartments until they die.

The Cato Institute produced some great charts on this back in 1997, but the same dynamics still hold in the market today. In cities without rent control, rents for available apartments form a normal distribution around the Census median rent. Here’s a chart of Philadelphia rents in 1997:

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Rent and the Single Girl

 

 

Posted: March 07, 2013

 

First came Helen Gurley Brown’s “Sex and the Single Girl.”

Then there was Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City.”

Now, we have Hannah Horvath on HBO’s “Girls.”

When will someone get around to what single women in New York really obsess about: a nice apartment in a decent neighborhood at an affordable price?

Today, more than 725,000 never-married women between the ages of 20 and 34 call Gotham home. Many have come here because they believe New York is the place to be. Especially for those just starting out, many quickly learn that life in the big city can mean sharing an East Bushwick apartment with three strangers because it’s the only place you can afford.

If New York’s high prices simply reflected the true market value, that would be one thing. After all, people have been finding roommates to split the rent for years. But the truth is that the young and unestablished are paying more than they should for their apartments, because the rental market and rental prices are being distorted by rent-control and rent-stabilization policies.

Rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments are a sweet deal for those who are in on it — mostly older and more established residents. So the wealthy retiree has every reason to cling to his rent-stabilized pad on Central Park South forever. Meanwhile, the young, the new arrivals and often the less-wealthy are out of luck.

Lena Dunham in “Girls”

These people pay in two ways: First, they have fewer apartments to choose from, because rent control and rent stabilization effectively take a million apartments off the market. According to the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, that’s nearly half the total rentals.

Second, the price of artificially lower rents in the regulated sector becomes artificially higher rents in the unregulated sector.

It’s not just single New York women, of course. It’s anyone looking for a place to live here. And so we have a familiar tale: laws promoted as helping average folk actually hurting them.

That’s worth keeping in mind as mayoral candidate after mayoral candidate prattles on about “affordable housing.” Almost always their answer is more of the same interference from government that has created this problem in the first place.

So as HBO gets ready for the Season 2 finale of “Girls,” we’re hoping someone might consider a series showing why, for so many women here, finding a decent, affordable apartment is more difficult than finding a faithful, self-supporting boyfriend.

 

Source: New York Post

Why Downtown’s Cool to Rent Control

Here’s an interesting piece by the Post’s Steve Cuozzo commenting on an issue raised in a recent Wall Street Journal article regarding rent stabilization coverage in the Financial District.

It seems that old-line tenant advocates, steadily losing their traditional constituency, are looking for new constituencies to support rent stabilization. The advocates are failing to find support in FiDi for the same reason they are losing support in the outer boroughs– in most of the City there is little difference between market rents and regulated rents.

                                            – Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 

(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)

 

Why downtown’s cool to rent control

By Steve Cuozzo, October 12, 2012

It’s great news to most New Yorkers that the Wall Street area has become one of the city’s best places to live — evidenced by a Financial District population that’s nearly doubled to 57,000 since 1999 and will soon hit 60,000.

Just about every apartment that comes to market is swiftly snatched up. People love the new FiDi — anchored by the country’s healthiest office market, now also throbbing with families, shops and amenities.

It’s so popular that the rental apartment vacancy rate is below 1 percent.

But to “tenant advocate” reactionaries, the picture is bleak.

Now a family-friendly ’hood: Crossing the street near Battery Park.

Why? Well, tenants there won’t fight to have their market-priced apartments rent-stabilized.

Paul Newell, a Democratic district leader who is trying to inflict rent-stabilization on thousands more apartments downtown, whined to The Wall Street Journal last week that a mere 10 residents responded to his campaign.

Stabilization, the ruinous residue of World War II-era “emergency” rent-control law, to this day warps the city’s housing scene by keeping 1 million apartments effectively off the market — sometimes for decades.

A 2010 court ruling left some 5,000 more downtown units potentially subject to stabilization (on technical grounds involving landlord receipt of a tax benefit). But to win stabilized status, tenants must prove an “overcharge” to the state Department of Homes and Community Renewal or sue their landlord.

Newell, a leftist activist who sued the NYPD over “illegal” arrests (including his own) involving Occupy Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park takeover, is dismayed that FiDi residents haven’t taken up the rent cause in droves.

To explain it away, he absurdly claims the area is full of short-term residents who just have no interest in trying to reduce rents long term. Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind echoed him, “Our area has always been quite transient,” and lamented, “We don’t want 15 college kids crashing in an apartment. We want people to hunker down and stay.”

Newell and Goodkind claim that people don’t stay long because it’s a lousy place to live lacking “basic trappings” like grocery stores.

Huh? What neighborhood are these guys talking about?

A 2009 poll by the Downtown Alliance found two-thirds of respondents had lived in the district for five years, and most intended to stay. More recent data from the Alliance show a median FiDi household income of $143,000 and average household income of $188,000. Some bunch of student drifters.

If FiDi were a transients’ camping ground, would Rose Associates spend a half-billion dollars to convert 70 Pine St. into a luxury address with 750 apartments at the highest rents in the area’s history?

Food shortage? The area’s proliferating choices range from huge new 55 Fulton Market to supermarkets to scores of gourmet shops.

Well, then — if it’s laughably false that residents want to bolt as soon as they can, why are they failing to fight for rent stabilization?

For one thing, the gap between market-rate and stabilized rents in the area is so small as to make the time and legal fees to seek stabilization not worth the struggle.

But there might well be a deeper explanation — anathema to activists who’d turn the clock back:

Maybe young, affluent residents dwelling amidst capitalism’s nerve center don’t buy into the culture of housing dependency and subsidy that animates “make our landlord beg” activists.

Very possibly, unlike 1960s rent-strike leaders, they recognize greater value in a building priced by the law of supply and demand.

Just as possibly, they understand that lower rents compromise a landlord’s inclination to provide the best service and maintain properties in the best condition.

And they love Downtown the way it is — striving and growing with no need for help from “advocates” whose day is long over.

Source: New York Post

MIT Research Shows Elimination of Rent Control in Cambridge Increased Property Values by $1.8 Billion

What is the cost of rent regulations in New York City?

A recent analysis of the impact of decontrol in Cambridge may offer some clues. According to economists at MIT, property values in Cambridge increased by $1.8 billion in the 10-year period after decontrol in 1994. Interestingly, property value gains were greater for property that had never been controlled than for previously controlled property.

Since there are vastly more rent regulated properties in New York City than in Cambridge, $1.8 billion may be a fraction of the increased property value to garnered by decontrol in New York.

Any economist out there want to extrapolate the potential tax revenue to be gleaned by decontrol in NYC?

 

                                               – Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association 

(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)

 

The complete study can be accessed by clicking here.