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NAHB: The nation has an affordable housing crisis

About 73% of NAHB survey respondents say there is an affordable housing problem.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Nearly 3 out of 4 American households said that the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and a majority of respondents reported this is a problem at their local and state level as well, according to a new nationwide 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,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “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. Among its key findings:

According to survey results, 73% of all respondents believe that a lack of affordable housing is a problem in the U.S. and 68% believe this is an issue in their state. About 54% also cited housing affordability as a concern in their neighborhood.

Approximately 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% reported a dearth of affordable housing as a problem in urban communities, 64% said it was an issue in middle-class neighborhoods, and 56% cited a problem in rural areas.

In terms of strategies to improve the lack of affordable housing, 55% believe it would be effective for their city or county to lower development and construction fees builders must pay so that more affordable units can be built and 53% believe it would be effective to increase government subsidies to builders to produce more affordable units.

The poll is also consistent with the latest findings from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report for the third quarter of 2018, which finds that 79% of buyers say they can afford to purchase fewer than half of the homes available in their local markets.

Nearly a third of America’s 119 million households are cost burdened and pay more than 30% of their income for housing, according to 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.

Regulatory requirements alone account for about 25% of the cost of constructing a single-family home and roughly 30% of the cost of a multifamily unit, the NAHB said. And every day, builders grapple with increasing construction material costs, a shortage of skilled workers and a dwindling supply of developed lots. Restrictive policies that limit or even prohibit various types of homes and make large areas off-limits to new construction contribute significantly to the problem.

“Housing is vital to the economic health of our nation,” said 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.”

The survey was conducted by Morning Consult and has a margin of error of about 2%, the NAHB said.

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84 Lumber collects holiday cheer for children

The pro dealer stuffs a bus and more while supporting Toys for Tots.

BY HBSDealer Staff

84 Lumber enhanced its efforts this holiday season while collecting toys for children in need.

For the third-straight year, the building materials supplier was a sponsor of the annual Stuff-A-Bus campaign in Pittsburgh, hosted by iHeartMedia’s 96.1 KISS. The initiative attempts to stuff as many school buses as possible with donations for the Marine Toys for Tots program.

The company also held successful toy drives at its Pittsburgh-area locations to support the campaign.

At 84 Lumber’s headquarters in Eighty Four, Pa., associates — as well as the public — were encouraged to donate enough toys to fill the company’s 160-square-foot “Degsy” tiny house. Dubbed “Stuff the Degsy,” the event collected nearly 200 toys ranging from bikes to board games.

84 Lumber’s Pittsburgh-area stores also held separate toy drives and collected almost 400 additional toys. The company’s total contributions were enough to fill an entire bus.

“We were overwhelmed by the response our toy drives received this year,” said Amy Smiley, vice president of marketing at 84 Lumber. “We were able to think of some unique ways to encourage more participation and get people excited about donating. We’re honored to play a small role in making the holidays a little brighter for children in need.”

This year marked the 15th Stuff-A-Bus campaign for 96.1 KISS. A record 60 buses were filled from Nov. 26–30, surpassing last year’s record of 59 buses.

 

 

 

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AWC opposes New Jersey anti-wood legislation

State senate bill looks to improve safety by limiting scale of wood-frame construction.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The American Wood Council (AWC) said it is in opposition to a bill in the New Jersey State Senate that limits the heights and areas of wood-frame construction.

The AWC, who represents about 86% of the structural wood products industry, has submitted a letter to the New Jersey Senate opposing bill S. 1261. aimed at limiting the size of wood-frame construction in large residential multi-family construction.

But the bill is backed by first responders and legislators in the state who say the legislation will increase fire safety standards in new construction, particularly through the use of non-combustible materials.

In the letter, the AWC argues that current building codes do not discriminate or favor one material over another while reinforcing the equivalent performance concept.

“Under the code, all building components are evaluated by standardized tests, and all that receive compliant ratings can be used. Engineers, architects, developers, and contractors are then given design freedom to choose among the most cost-effective materials that meet the stringent criteria in the Code. Despite what you might hear, it is erroneous to believe that, because a product is claimed to be non-combustible, it won’t fail in a fire. Fires don’t start in the materials of construction – rather, fires begin in the spaces of buildings we occupy, and into which we bring combustible, flammable, and toxic materials. The progression of a fire from these furnishings and contents to the building materials themselves, is delayed by building code design, allowing safe occupant evacuation,” the AWC said in its letter to the senate.

“The proposition to reduce certain building heights and areas has been brought up time and time again and repeatedly fails because the code already addresses the issue of combustible construction through equivalent performance. Notably, S. 1261 is being promulgated by the concrete industry to increase market share. The Build with Strength Coalition has attempted to change other state and local jurisdictions and each effort has been soundly rejected. Despite claims by competing materials, the long-established code development process works very well to ensure that state-of-the-art building code provisions are regularly adopted.

“Decisions about and adoption of building codes should be determined by local code officials, engineers and design professionals who work with these materials daily.

Additionally, the AWC urged state senators to recognize that the best building codes do not result from legislation, but rather from a process that employs the best expertise of building and fire officials, along with the building design community.

“The International Code Council provides that very process, ensuring that all code provisions are approved by these very experts employed by governmental agencies. While groups like ours participate in the process, the system only permits those tasked with enforcing the code, such as New Jersey’s building and fire officials, to approve those provisions,” the AWC said.

The bill is currently in review by the state senate and has the support of senate president Stephen Sweeney.

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