I’ve been shouting myself hoarse making this argument for about 6 years now. Bolded emphasis very much mine.
… the developers and the mayor are saying that if we build enough new housing (Metcalf likes maybe 5,000 units a year) then eventually prices will come down.
That means that developers will build housing and sell it or rent if for a lot less than they’re charging today. Market forces; competition. Prices come down.
But that also assumes that developers will build at all if the prices are lower, that you can actually get 5,000 units a year when some of them will be priced at a level the middle class can afford.
Either that’s wrong – the developers will give up once prices come down – or it’s true. If it’s true, that means that developers can, in fact, build and sell or rent housing at a much lower cost than the current market rate.
Right? Free market? Prices come down, they keep building. Eventually you can rent a two-bedroom for $1,500 again, which means working class families can stay here.
But wait: That means that it’s economically feasible to build housing in the private sector that will be affordable to the rest of us – if we only build enough. Which means, of course, that it’s economically feasible to do it now; the developers just don’t want to, because they can make gobs of money.
Maybe that’s the message these folks ought to get: If your market is going to solve my problems, show me now that it’s possible. Or none of us are going to believe that anything other than strict regulation will work.