How Housing Fared in 2019

Next City's Jared Brey reviews a year of developments in housing politics and policy, teasing out several big trends.

January 8, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Jeramey Lende / Shutterstock

"Housing is a national issue now," Jared Brey declares in a link-rich overview of housing beat highlights from 2019. Of the 2020 presidential contenders, he writes, "the fact that nearly every candidate has proposed a housing plan is a testament to how much housing has been elevated as a political concern."

Beyond more national attention to housing, rent control was another winner in 2019. While rent regulation often gets pegged as "a relic of a bygone era," housing advocates overcame those arguments last year to good effect. Momentum is also building for better responses to eviction. After New York City pioneered the "right to counsel" for tenants facing eviction, four more cities have followed suit.

Although housing advocates may have chalked up some wins in 2019, Brey notes that "California, the emblem of the growing national housing crisis with one of the worst shortages of affordable housing in the country, continued to struggle to find solutions in 2019."

Finally, for many, faith in purely market-oriented approaches to the housing crisis may be faltering as shortages continue to defy the pace of construction, especially of homes affordable to those with low and middle incomes. 

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