Does $15 an Hour Mean Higher Rents?
Although low-income renters in Los Anegeles were no doubt heartened by news of a forthcoming $15 minimum wage, economists offer words of warning. Rosalie Ray, a UCLA researcher who claimed Los Anegles is the nation's most unaffordable rental market, stands by those grim tidings. Her basic thesis: higher buying power without an increase in supply will push up prices.
From the article: "That means around 700,000 minimum wage workers will have more money to compete for the same low inventory of rental units. [...] L.A.'s Department of Building and Safety is projecting a 29 percent increase in new units this fiscal year over last, with 12,000 units permitted. Still, that isn't enough to keep up with the city's population growth [...]."
Chris Thornberg, Beacon Economics co-founder, agreed: "What we need is housing — period. Whether we build it to be affordable or not, ultimately it's about adding to the supply."