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NAHB: Most Americans say there is an affordability crisis

Survey finds that housing affordability is viewed as a problem at national, state and local levels.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that four out of five American households believe the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis and at least 75% report this is a problem at the state and local level.

The information is from a new nationwide survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the NAHB.

More than 19,800 adults were surveyed in August to assess the public’s attitude on whether a lack of affordable housing is a problem in their neighborhoods, cities, states and nationwide.

“Housing affordability is near a 10-year low and this poll confirms the challenges hard-working families face to keep housing within reach as rising costs continue to outpace wage growth,” said Greg Ugalde, NAHB chairman and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Policymakers must roll back inefficient zoning rules, costly impact fees and outmoded land development regulations that are driving up housing costs, contributing to the mounting lack of affordable housing and hurting middle- and low-income households.”

The poll cuts across partisan, regional, demographic and socio-economic lines, according to the NAHB.
Among its key findings, the poll found that 80% of all respondents believe that a lack of affordable housing is a problem in the United States while 78% believe this is an issue in their state.

About 75% of respondents cited housing affordability as a concern in their city and 76% say it is an issue in their county.

A similar poll conducted in late November revealed that the housing affordability situation is worsening. Nationwide, 73% of respondents reported at the end of last year that a lack of affordable housing is a problem, 68% said this is an issue in their state and 54% cited housing affordability as a concern in their neighborhood.

Asked about potential solutions to the housing affordability problem, respondents in the August poll expressed modest-to-strong support for several policy prescriptions from candidates for federal elected office.
Poll results showed that 64% would support a proposal to expand government programs to increase the supply of affordable rental housing.

This was followed closely by 62% who said they would support a proposal to provide grants to families in areas historically affected by housing discrimination to assist with a down payment on a home.

And 57% said they would support a proposal to increase taxes on the richest Americans to pay for construction and rehabilitation of more rental housing that is affordable to lower-income households.

More than half of the respondents, or 52%, said they would support a proposal to reduce regulations, such as restrictive zoning and permitting procedures, that increase the costs of constructing new homes.

The NAHB said the poll is consistent with the latest findings from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report for the second quarter of 2019, which finds that 80% of buyers say they can afford to purchase fewer than half of the homes available in their local markets.

When asked which of the two major political parties is more likely to take action to reduce the cost of housing in the United States, respondents gave the edge to the Democratic Party (36%) over the Republican Party (21%). Another 24% said neither party, and 18% said they didn’t know or weren’t sure.

This national survey of 19,801 adults was conducted Aug. 9-24 by the polling firm Morning Consult and has a margin error of roughly 1%, the NAHB said.

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