New article by Sebastian Kohl
News vom 06.04.2023
Do rent controls and other tenancy regulations affect new construction? Some answers from long-run historical evidence
The (re-)introduction of tenancy regulation in the form of rent controls, tenant protection or supply rationing is back on the agenda of policymakers in light of rent inflation in many global cities. While rent controls promise short-term relief, economists point to their negative long-run effects on new construction. This study presents new long-run data on both rent regulation and housing construction for 16 developed countries (1910–2016) and finds that more restrictive rental market legislation generally has a negative impact on both new housing construction and residential investment. This is especially true for strict rent controls and housing rationing measures in the post-1960 period. Tenancy security can on average also dampen construction activity. The negative effect is overall less significant and strong in magnitude than expected and may have been offset by exemptions for new construction, by compensating social housing construction and by a flight of new construction into the owner-occupied sector. Still, on average, rent controls came at the cost of less construction activity.