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On Rent Control

Today’s New York Times ran this letter from me on rent-control:

To the Editor:

An Oct. 4 letter says New York City “must quickly develop a plan to retain the middle-class population.” The city can start by abolishing rent control.

By decreasing the profitability of supplying units occupied by renters, these controls spawn condo conversions and prompt builders to construct fewer rental units and more units for sale to owner-occupiers. People who can’t afford to buy housing are unnecessarily disadvantaged.

Rent control also encourages empty nesters, who enjoy below-market rents for their three- and four-bedroom apartments, to stay put rather than move into smaller units, thus discouraging younger families with children from moving to the city.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Fairfax, Va., Oct. 4, 2006

The writer is chairman of the economics department at George Mason University.


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