Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are Rents Rising?

Dean Baker has a good put down of an article in the New York Times that tries to claim there is a shortage of rental housing. The one piece of economic data that the Times presented was:

rents have been rising, up 2.4 percent in January from a year earlier, according to recent data, not adjusted for inflation

A nominal price increase over one year doesn’t sound that convincing. How hard would it have been to present matters adjusted for inflation? Dean presents a graph that takes the increase in owner equivalent rent over the 1991 to current period. It appears that there was no nominal increase in the previous year. Compare this to the 2.9% increase in the consumer price index over the past 12 months and the 1.6% increase over the previous year and a some elementary arithmetic indicates real rents have fallen over the past couple of years. And yet the Times claims that rents have been rising due to some alleged shortage?


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