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Research finds rent control reduces affordability in long run

A view of San Francisco's famed Painted Ladies victorian houses. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A view of San Francisco's famed Painted Ladies victorian houses. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

After housing costs skyrocketed in many places during the pandemic, some lawmakers are now looking to rent control. A bill in Nevada would bar landlords from raising rent on tenants in their first year and then limit increases to 5%. Boston is considering a plan that would also limit annual hikes. And there’s a debate in Hoboken, New Jersey, over how rent control there should work.

But does rent control improve housing affordability in the long run? Stanford Graduate School of Business economics professor Rebecca Diamond has looked into that question. She was part of a study in San Francisco that found that in the long run, rent control drove up rents because it led a number of landlords to convert their housing to other uses and it reduced the supply of rental units.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.