Opinion: Meddling With Free Market Doesn’t Really Help Anyone
Nate Brusselback outlines why supply-side solutions are the best fit to tackle Oregon’s housing affordability crisis.
The multifamily and single-family housing markets are closely related. What’s good for one can be good for the other. In a normal free market housing cycle, jobs drive both markets. When new jobs come to town, it brings in more people, driving up rents.
When rents get high enough the top renters move up to buy single-family homes and apartment developers move in to build more apartments, filling the shortage. This supply and demand cycle has historically driven the single-family market with a steady stream of home buyers who have proven they can make a monthly payment.
Pendleton’s lack of new jobs and bleak population growth estimates, an increase of 21 people for 2020 and only a 0.3% annual increase over the next 20 years, means this town has some of the lowest rents and lowest growth projections in the state for a town of its size. With low rents come low housing prices and less development. Low rents and low housing prices are not enough to drive meaningful population growth. There must be substantial job growth to make a real difference.
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