Why Your Skyrocketing Rent Is Bad for the Economy

6/05/2013

Michael Lind is in the midst of a three-part series over at Salon on the rise of rentier capitalism in America, with some pretty unambiguous headlines (yesterday: “Private sector parasites”; today: “How rich ‘moochers’ hurt America”). His premise is that the true “takers” in America are not the impoverished families on food stamps or the retired workers using medicare. They are, among other people, the landlords who’ve been sitting comfortably on the other end of the astronomical uptick in rent prices we’ve been wringing our hands over here, here, here and here.

Last spring, The New York Times reported that rents in Manhattan had reached an all-time high. By September, our own Richard Florida noted that it had become cheaper to own a home than to rent one in every one of the country’s 100 largest metros. Earlier this year, it appeared as if the average rent for an apartment in San Francisco had finally leveled off… at $2,741 a month.

We’ve thought a lot about what all of these numbers mean for families and young professionals who would like to move into (or stay within) increasingly unaffordable major metros. But Lind’s writing puts a whole different perspective on the problem: What about all of the landlords who are now depositing this windfall, and without lifting a finger or remodeling a bathroom to get it?

Continue reading this article by Emily Badger on The Atlantic Cities.

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