Americans Want Policymakers to Act on Housing Affordability

Housing Affordability

Americans overwhelmingly expressed their support of government initiatives to facilitate the production of more housing, with 82% agreeing in a recent survey that policymakers should factor in housing affordability when considering new legislation and regulations. The survey was conducted by the polling firm Morning Consult on behalf of NAHB.

Respondents from across the country said housing inventory and housing affordability are a problem in their city, county, state and across the country, with 79% citing housing affordability as a problem in their state.

When asked about potential solutions to address affordability woes, 66% of survey respondents said government should provide incentives to private builders and developers to create more housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households.

Respondents also showed support for other federal policies to improve housing affordability:

  • 61% support incentivizing home owners to update their older homes to make them more resilient to flooding and high winds.
  • 59% support incentivizing local governments to ease zoning regulations that prevent the construction of more affordable housing.
  • 54% said easing regulations that create roadblocks to the construction of accessory dwelling units, such as in-law suites and tiny homes, would be helpful.

In addition to citing an urgent need for increased housing affordability across the country, respondents were in favor of building lower-cost and higher-density homes in their own communities. Mid-rise condo building with units for sale, a two-story apartment building with units for rent, and new townhomes for sale all garnered solid support from current home owners, at 40%, 55% and 60%, respectively.

When asked about government policies to improve the nation’s existing housing stock, 70% of respondents said they support government spending that would improve the nation’s existing housing by incentivizing home owners to bring their older homes up to current building and energy codes. Support for strengthening the nation’s housing infrastructure remained strong even if such spending added to the national debt, with 64% in favor.

There was also strong support for single-family homes specifically built for rental purposes rather than for sale, even among respondents who owned their homes. Although this concept has yet to become a dominant market sector, only comprising about 6% of new homes built, most respondents said they would be comfortable with new single-family built-to-rent housing constructed within a mile walk from their house. Another housing type that received a sizable percentage of respondents approving being built within a mile walk of their house was manufactured housing, or mobile homes.

The nation needs more housing and Americans want the federal government to support more new home production. With housing affordability on the decline and families looking ahead to another year of spending more time at home due to the ongoing pandemic, the need for more homes is apparent.

NAHB encourages policymakers to support policies that will enable builders to produce more housing – whether single-family dwellings, condominiums, mobile homes or townhomes – and to provide the American dream of homeownership and improved housing opportunity to more families.

The survey results, along with key national, state and local economic data, can be found on NAHB’s updated Housing Portal. NAHB members can use this data in meetings with local officials to help bring home how urgent these issues are to America’s home builders and families.

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