A guy just transcribed 30 years of for-rent ads. Here’s what it taught us about housing prices
Michael Andersen

Fischer’s analysis precisely defines part of the problem, but ironically avoids any of the tools for its solution. Most surely it’s not a “market” problem which could be “solved” with enough new units — it’s more complicated than that. Yet, looking at Europe particularly, it is a problem that might be solved — actually ended — with a wider range of financing. Land Trusts mitigate the greed of the rich without ending it. Community ownership of land or some kind of equity can establish fair boundaries on value improvement. Shared equity options offer both stability, continuity, and profit shares.

At issue is the current obsession with rental housing, and with construction alone (as in New York) as a “market solution.” Look deeper into Fischer’s data and you’ll find neighborhoods where stability trumps (bad pun) greed, and where community values have cash equivalents. Shared and limited equity opportunities on a large scale solve problems at an even larger scale, and more securely than an always-in-political-jeopardy “rent control” solution.

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