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Most People Think There is a Housing Affordability Crisis

Nearly three out of four American households believe that the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and a majority of respondents say it's a problem at local and state level as well.

By Toby Tobin

WASHINGTON – December 6, 2018 – Nearly three out of four American households believe that the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and a majority of respondents say it's a problem at their local and state level as well, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"These poll results confirm what builders from across the nation have been warning about – that housing affordability is an increasingly serious problem in communities across America," says NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. "A mix of regulatory barriers, ill-considered public policy, and challenging market conditions is driving up costs and making it increasingly difficult for builders to produce homes that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families."

More than 2,200 adults were surveyed Nov. 27 through Nov. 30 to assess the public's attitude on whether a lack of affordable housing is a problem in their neighborhoods, cities, states and nationwide. The poll cut across partisan, regional, demographic and socio-economic lines.

Key findings

  • 73 percent of respondents believe a lack of affordable housing is a problem in the U.S.
  • 68 percent believe it's an issue in their state
  • 54 percent cite housing affordability as a concern in their neighborhood
  • 58 percent said that if they decided to purchase a home in the near future, they would have trouble finding a home they could afford in their city or county
  • Breaking down by community types, 68 percent reported a dearth of affordable housing in urban communities, 64 percent said it was an issue in middle-class neighborhoods and 56 percent cited a problem in rural areas

How to fix the problem?

Most respondents (55 percent) believe their city or county should lower development and construction fees builders must pay, and 53 percent believe it would be effective to increase government subsidies to builders so they could produce more affordable units.

Nearly a third of America's 119 million households are cost burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing, according to an NAHB analysis of data from the Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey. That number includes almost half of the nation's renter households and a quarter of the owner households.

NAHB says that regulatory requirements account for about 25 percent of the cost of constructing a single-family home and roughly 30 percent of the cost of a multifamily unit. Beyond regulations, builders also face a higher cost for construction materials, a shortage of skilled workers and a dwindling supply of developed lots. Restrictive policies that limit or prohibit various types of homes also make large areas off-limits to new construction.

"Housing is vital to the economic health of our nation," says Noel. "This poll should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers at all levels of government to ease regulatory burdens that needlessly drive up the cost of housing and to enact policies that will encourage the production of badly-needed affordable housing units."

This national online survey of 2,203 adults was conducted Nov. 27-30, 2018 by Morning Consult. It has a margin of error of ± 2 percent.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


Toby Tobin: REALTOR®, SRES®

I am a Florida licensed REALTOR®, SRES®, affiliated with Grand Living Realty in Palm Coast, Fla. I have years of experience and a treasure trove of relevant analytics. By consulting with me, developers, builders, homebuyers, and sellers achieve improved outcomes and reduced stress, knowing that their real estate decisions are fact-based.

Call me at (386) 931-7124 or email me at Toby@GoToby.com.

Listen to my radio show, Real Estate Mattersevery Saturday morning right after the 11:00 A.M. news break on WNZF News Radio 1550 AM or 94.9 FM. Download the Flagler Radio App from the App Store so you can hear Real Estate Matters anywhere in the world.

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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.