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A Snag Called Housing Affordability

Nearly three out of four American households believe that the nation is suffering from a housing affordability crisis according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders [1] (NAHB).

The survey [2], which polled 2,200 adults between November 27 and November 30, 2018 to assess whether the lack of affordable housing was a problem in their neighborhood, city, and across the U.S., revealed that 68 percent of respondents believed that housing affordability was an issue in their state, while 54 percent cited it as a concern in their neighborhood.

Urban communities, according to 68 percent of the respondents, suffered the most from the problem of housing affordability, while 64 percent said that it was an issue in middle-class neighborhoods and 54 percent citing it as a problem in rural areas.

“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 Randy Noel, Chairman of NAHB. “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.”

On asking the respondents what strategies could be used to mitigate this issue, the survey said that 55 percent respondents said it would be effective for their city or country to lower development and construction fees that builders pay so that they could build more affordable units. Fifty-three percent of respondents felt that increasing government subsidies to builders to produce more affordable unit would also be an effective way of getting over this problem.

NAHB said that the poll was consistent with its latest Housing Trends Report for the third quarter of 2018, that found 79 percent of buyers saying they could afford to purchase fewer than half of the homes available in their local markets.

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