When we talk about the housing crisis in Oregon, we talk about a complex issue that is, at its core, easy to understand. Oregon has a housing shortage, and so available housing costs more. The supply of housing in Oregon has not kept up with the increase in demand for housing. Scarcity drives pricing; this is the basic building block of supply and demand economics.

It’s as easy to see why rent control feels like a solution to the problem: If people can’t afford rising rents, why not limit how much those rents can rise? But after nearly 100 years of rent control experiments throughout the nation, all the data show that no matter what you call it — rent control or rent stabilization — it offers only a small subset of renters short-term relief, while the long-term results are much worse.

Why? Because it leads to a reduction in the available supply of rental housing in a community. Far fewer investors have the ability or the will to buy or build rental homes in a place with rent control. I know this because our office serves as rental investment advisors for thousands of clients throughout Oregon and Washington.

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