HUD releases new research on increasing affordable housing production and preservation

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its latest research on innovative strategies being pursued by state and local governments to remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing and increase housing supply.

The new research, published by HUD’s Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R), was promised as part of the Department’s September 1 announcement of a series of actions it is taking as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to create, preserve, and sell nearly 100,000 additional affordable homes for homeowners and renters across the country over the next three years. As stated in that announcement, the lessons from the research “will be incorporated into HUD’s Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse, which contains over 4800 barriers and solutions and provides a catalog of information that spans all 50 states and over 460 cities and counties. They will also inform the locally driven zoning reform initiative in the President’s Build Back Better Plan.”

According to this new research, “Opportunities to Increase Housing Production and Preservation,” without significant new supply, cost burdens are likely to increase as current home prices reach all-time highs, with the median home sales price reaching nearly $375,000 in July 2021. The research also makes clear the consequences that inadequate housing supply will have on homeowners and renters. In 2019, more than 37 million renter and owner households spent more than 30 percent of their income for housing.

The new research cites two reports—a HUD-published report from January 2021 under the previous administration and a June 2021 report to Congress—that highlight actions state and local governments are taking to reduce barriers that are limiting housing production and preservation. These activities range from state tax policies and incentives to encourage local housing production to local zoning changes, process improvements, and community engagement reforms.

Additionally, the research highlights HUD tools and grant opportunities to assist jurisdictions seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing in their communities, and makes clear that “a comprehensive zoning reform program, such as the one proposed in the Build Back Better Plan currently before Congress, would enhance HUD’s efforts to help communities plan and implement housing policy reforms, study the impact of those reforms, and share the most effective approaches to community engagement and policy actions.”