What’s With High Rent?

I hear and understand the concern and frustration about high rent. This is a national challenge but can only be addressed locally. Rent in Hendersonville is at historically high levels and makes living here difficult right now.

What’s happening? There are several factors at play here according to executives at Zillow and Apartment List.

  1. Demand is skyrocketing—as young people flocked out of the cities to live at home again during the early days of the pandemic, there was a glut of rental houses and apartments. They are rapidly moving out and are looking to rent.
  2. Purchase prices are astronomical—this makes it especially difficult for people to buy a home at this time so they are opting for renting instead of owning. Again, demand is rising.
  3. Supply is not keeping up—as demand rises supply is not; the result, we all know from high school economics, is higher prices.

How do we address this? While I do favor short-term safety net assistance programs (there are several resources within Hendersonville and Henderson County), these are just that—short-term, emergency help. Paying people’s rent for them or forcing artificially low rents (like NYC rent controls) are not a way to live. Used long-term, these relief programs only increase dependency on the government and other tax payers and help contribute to the permanent underclass situation what we see all over our country.

The answer is to increase supply of housing by supporting developers in their sub-divisions and apartment complexes. As supply grows, prices fall. But this is not a cure-all. Development must be planned and coordinated in a way that doesn’t run wild and ruin our quality of life. Strains on our water and sewer system, our road system, and our emergency first responders must be taken into consideration in all planning and approvals. Zoning must be updated and administered in a way that protects existing property values, schools, access to roads, green space, trees, and historic areas, etc.

This is not a simple thing. Rhetoric and cliches will not help. A collaboration between the city, they county, and the citizens is vital. Listening and taking all perspectives into account is key. Leaders with strong backgrounds in business and innovation are required.

We can do this, Hendersonville. And we will!

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