Restricting housing options hurts the poor.
(Foundation for Economic Education)
“The rent is too damn high!”
Airbnb is the new target of this familiar complaint from residents and politicians of major cities throughout the United States. The spurious claim is that Airbnb, an online service that connects people with spare space with those who need a place to stay, raises the price and reduces the overall supply of housing. Therefore, critics say, regulating Airbnb will prevent long-term housing areas from resembling hotel or apartment districts, resulting in a more affordable housing environment.
Although the call to fix housing shortages is welcome, the real culprit of high rents is local governments — not Airbnb.
Specifically, housing shortages in many cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, were caused and perpetuated by city governments’ unwillingness to increase their housing supply.
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