Trump Wants to Eliminate Barriers to Affordable Housing Development
The removal of bureaucratic obstacles is the target of a new initiative recently launched by the Trump Administration. In late June, the President signed an order creating the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing Development, which includes members from eight federal agencies. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal says the council’s mission is to explore using federal programs to push local governments to soften or eliminate rules that block housing construction, which they point out is an issue that has stymied officials at all levels of government for many years.
Interestingly, a study released the same week by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that the U.S. built about 260,000 fewer homes in 2018 than it needed to keep up with population growth and an aging housing stock. In addition, the National Association of Home Builders said their analysis found that regulations account for nearly 25% of the price of building a single-family home and more than 30 percent of the cost of a typical multifamily development.
Local zoning and land-use regulations have swelled since the 1970s and cannot be eliminated in one stroke of a pen by the federal government. Expensive U.S. cities and suburbs in California and the Northeast have long been difficult places to build. But housing shortages have grown widespread in recent years, extending from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Austin, Texas.