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

That’s an interesting article, for sure. But those *average* rent prices don’t reflect the reality in the market that some renters, who have been in their units for many years, are paying far below that average, while new renters, who might live in the same-sized unit upstairs, are paying what the market will bear for new renters. Starting in the mid-80s, I rented a flat for twice the rent the upstairs tenants in the same size flat paid. So sure, between the two of us, we hit close to the average rent, but our rents were wildly different because I had just moved to the city and they were elderly people who had lived there longer. In addition, there’s the problem that if you live in a rent-controlled apartment very long, you literally might not be able to afford to move, and if your landlord does an Ellis Act eviction, as happened to two friends of mine, the $5000 they’re obligated to pay you to leave barely covers two months’ rent in a place that you won’t be able to afford on your salary alone. I can’t complain personally, as rent control was good to me the 8 years I rented. But part of what drives the prices of vacant apartments up is that landlords have to recoup the market value of the long-term tenants who are paying so much less. My guess is that pre-rent control, most renters were individually paying close to those averages, whereas in today’s market, some are playing much more, and other much less.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.