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Issues of housing affordability are evident at state, county, and city levels. (Photo: Pixabay)
This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of Pro Builder.

Almost three out of four Americans believe that the U.S. has a housing affordability crisis, according to a recent survey conducted for the National Association of Home Builders.

A majority of respondents reported that housing affordability also is a problem in their state, and in their local city or county. The poll confirms that housing affordability is a growing problem in America’s communities, cutting across partisan, regional, demographic, and socioeconomic lines. A harmful mix of regulatory barriers, ill-considered public policy, and challenging market conditions drives up costs, making it increasingly difficult for builders to produce affordable homes for low- and moderate-income families.

Among the key findings:

• 73 percent of respondents believe that a lack of affordable housing is a national problem.

• 68 percent believe this is an issue in their state, and 54 percent report it in their neighborhood.

• 58 percent say that they would have trouble finding an 
affordable home in their city or county in the near term.

• 68 percent of respondents reported a troubling lack of affordable housing in urban communities, along with 64 percent in middle-class neighborhoods, and 56 percent in rural areas.

To improve conditions, 55 percent believe it would be effective for their city or county to lower development and construction fees for builders so more affordable units can be built, and 53 percent believe it would be effective to increase government subsidies to builders to produce more affordable units.

The polling firm Morning Consult conducted the national online survey from Nov. 27–30, 2018, to assess public attitudes about affordable housing, receiving 2,203 qualified responses. The results have a ±2 percent margin of error.

Nationwide, regulatory requirements account for about 25 percent of single-family home construction costs, and roughly 30 percent for a multifamily unit. Every day, builders grapple with increasing construction material costs, a shortage of skilled workers, and a dwindling supply of developed lots, all of which present challenges to providing affordable housing.