The extended period of good performance has produced one bad side effect: legislation enacted in three states to limit rent growth and pressure to act in more states. After a period of below-par growth in housing stock, the U.S. needs more units built, but rent control moves the needle in the opposite direction.
Earlier this week, Yardi Matrix issued its National Multifamily Report for October that highlighted supply and demand, rent growth trends, and political activity as we approached the end of Q4.
According to the report, multifamily rent growth inched upward in October, as the average U.S. multifamily rent increased by $1 to $1,476. Year-over-year rent growth remained at 3.2%. Despite the expected slower month during the fourth quarter, Yardi expects continuous demand a slowly growing economy to keep rent growth above its long-term average.
The multifamily sector’s continuous strength over multiple years has resulted in an elevated number of rent-burdened households. In consequence, an increase in political pressure has yielded new rent control laws in three states: New York, California, and Oregon.
According to the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University, “More than 20 million renter households spend over 30% of income on housing, and 80% of renters and 63% of owners making less than $30,000 are cost-burdened.”
Yardi dubs rent control as counterproductive as it reduces investment, limits new development which perpetuates unaffordability, increases the cost burden on those who move or enter a new market, and reduces the incentive to make capital improvements which leads to degradation of already existing stock. Outlined affordability solutions include reducing exclusionary zoning, allowing more density, and more subsidized new developments.
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