Memo to Portland landlords: raise your rents now


Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) wants to be a decider on regulating the cost of rental housing.

Kotek and other ill-informed Democrats want Oregonians struggling with rising rents to believe that ending the statewide ban on local rent-control measures is the holy grail that will solve their problems.

Don’t be fooled. Rent control is a simplistic political solution to a complex problem.

Though liberals may castigate the free market and favor government intervention, the facts on the ground support the conclusion that the free market works with rentals.

After a rental market boom has pushed up prices across the country, rents in some of the hottest markets are now starting to decline.

While the national apartment market is still performing above the long-term average, the moderation from the unsustainable levels of 2014 and 2015 has come, particularly in urban cores.

“Apartment rents declined in some of the country’s priciest cities during the third quarter, a dramatic reversal that could signal the end of a six-year boom for the U.S. rental market,” said Axiometrics Inc, a provider of apartment and student housing market intelligence.

The market is feeling the effects of the concentrated new supply according to Axiometrics. “In particular, rent growth has declined precipitously in markets with the highest rents in the country, such as New York and the San Francisco Bay Area,” Axiometrics reported recently. “Rent levels declined year over year in the three major markets with the highest rents – San Francisco, New York and San Jose.”

In other words, rent control promoters, the market works.

Not that this will dissuade liberal deniers. So, raise your rents now, landlords, before the know-nothings go into action.