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Florida Toys With Housing Suicide

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One of the consequences of inflation is the lure of bad policies that come with it. Lawmakers in urban hotspots are once again on rent control. A poll in Orlando, Florida, will give residents a chance to show they’ve learned more about the economy than their local leaders.

The commissioner of Orange County, Florida, last week voted on rent control measures in a November ballot. The ordinance will stop landlords from raising rents above the inflation rate measured by the consumer price index in the southeastern states. The measures he will expire after 2023, but these policies tend to last forever once in place. See New York City.

With rents skyrocketing, price control looks like an attractive stopgap measure. Supporters of the ballot measure point to his 35% surge in Orlando rents since 2020 as a sign that affordability has become an emergency. “I don’t want to regulate rents. I don’t want to control landlords,” commissioner Myra Uribe told the press last week. “I’m really trying to find a solution to the housing problem. ”

City councilors in Tampa and St. Petersburg also put to votes this month after debating rent regulations. Miami-Dade leaders have proposed a study aimed at providing a basis for capping rent increases. More may be on the way. In 2021, the Sunshine State had 8 of the 10 US rental markets with the steepest price increases, as reported in a Florida Atlantic University study.

The problem is that limiting prices distorts the rental market without offering much relief. take profit. Existing tenants often see neighborhoods deteriorating.

This is no news for Orange County leaders who have learned a lesson about rent dynamics from their own advisors. A GAI consultant hired by the commissioner to evaluate the policy reported that the cause of the rent increase was “likely beyond the control of local regulations.” He said capping price increases would lead to “unintended consequences.”

The report also identified a real solution to the price spike. It’s about increasing supply. There is evidence in the homebuying market that builders are already seizing the opportunity. A record 1,200 of his new homes went on sale in May in the Orlando metropolitan area, according to local realtors. Second-hand home sales in the area are also down by a third from last year. Price increases have slowed without government intervention.

If local real estate advocates can convince state courts, the threat of Orlando’s rent regulation could be averted. Two industry groups have sued to repeal the ballot measure, claiming it violated the state’s 1977 ban on rent regulation. Common sense favors plaintiffs, but the county commission may argue that today’s prices qualify as a “housing emergency” to allow action.

That means voters need to save the day. Smart economic policies are a big reason why Florida has become a mecca for refugees from other states. Nothing ruins a friendly economic environment more than rent control madness.

Review and outlook: CDC director Rochelle Walensky says the agency will be reorganized with a focus on “action” and “equity.” Both her diagnosis and prescription are wrong. Image: AP/Reuters/Bloomberg News Composite: Mark Kelly

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Published in print on August 20, 2022.

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