The Fed raises the interest rates….
Mortgage rates climb accordingly…..
Home sale’s drop…..
Home and Apartmwent renting increases….
Renting costs rise accordingly….
Kansas City has tenents organizing against all this….
Of coiurse there is a economic and racial part to this…
America’s housing problem was simmering long before the pandemic, and tenant organizing is a well-established trade. What’s changed is the depth of the housing shortage and the suddenness with which Covid-19 and inflation have tipped smaller cities into an affordability crisis. This has opened the aperture for policies once deemed politically impossible, in a wider range of markets.
Unlike homeowners, whose budget problems are blunted by a litany of tax breaks and fixed-rate mortgages, renters are mostly unprotected from rapidly rising prices. Once cities around the country passed widespread eviction moratoriums and emergency rent caps that were followed by tens of billions of dollars in pandemic rental assistance, it was only natural for housing activists to push for some of those temporary policies to be made permanent.
Politically speaking, inflation has only helped. Nationally, rents are now 20 percent higher than they were in early 2020, creating an opportunity for renter-friendly laws to get baked into long-term policy.
“People take for granted that rent is always going to go up,” said Tara Raghuveer, a co-founder of KC Tenants. “There’s so little political imagination about what could be different, and now I think that’s changing.”
A hyper-focused worker who blends the rhetoric of a revolutionary with the efficiency of a chief executive, Ms. Raghuveer also directs the Homes Guarantee campaign, which works to create tenant unions around the country. She described KC Tenants as both a local movement and national experiment through which organizing ideas can be test-driven….
Around the country, developers have spent the past decade building mostly higher-end units. Eli Ungar, the founder of Mac Properties, which is based in Englewood, N.J., and owns about 9,000 apartments, including 2,000 in Kansas City, bluntly laid out the economics. The cost of development is now so high that the most reliable way to make money is by building apartments for tenants who regard the cost of rent as “a matter of curiosity.”
This leaves two groups behind.
“The folks who think of themselves as middle class and are feeling increased worry and pressure as rents go up faster than incomes, and the people who are most vulnerable in our society and desperately need housing that no developer can provide without a massive subsidy,” Mr. Ungar said. “As a citizen, I would be entirely comfortable with my taxes being higher to provide well-maintained housing for those who can’t afford it. The question is how that is achieved, and market-rate developers are not unilaterally going to say, ‘I will reduce my income to achieve this goal.’”
Caught in the teeth of a housing problem that is growing faster than local budgets, public officials inevitably try to solve both problems at once, pitting the middle class against families who live on minimum wage or fixed incomes. This was the crux of the “Sister Act” protest…..