JANUARY 21, 2024

This one is weird: I thought the main Yimby argument was that more housing, including more market-rate housing, will eventually bring down rents. That’s the central reason that the state is mandating so much new housing—because a housing shortage, which can best be solved by the private sector, drives costs up for everyone.

I’m not against density or more housing, but I’ve always said that the way the housing development market works, new housing can’t bring rents down, because if rents start to fall to affordable levels, developers won’t get the return their investors demand, so they’ll stop building housing.

Now one of the leaders in the Yimby movement has confirmed that, in a bizarre statement to the City Planning Comission.

On Jan. 18, Corey Smith, executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, told the commissioners that “we need the rent to go back up” if new housing is going to be built. “I know that’s counter-intuitive and insane to say out loud, but it’s the truth,” he testified.

Correct: If rents and housing prices go up, more developers will see more profit, and will be more likely to build more. But that’s the opposite of what the Yimbys have always said.

From Lee Hepner on Twitter:

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