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Biden's Promised Changes to the Housing Market

Government + Policy

Biden's Promised Changes to the Housing Market

November 9, 2020
The White House
Photo: Vacclav

Along the campaign trail, President-elect Joe Biden promised changes to housing plans in order to create more opportunities for low- and middle-income Americans. If Biden does follow-up on these promises, says the changes could have “momentous” results. One promise Biden declared was to help more Americans become homeowners. His plan, released in February, promises a down payment tax credit of up to $15,000 for first-time buyers. At this time of advancing home prices and shrinking housing inventory, says this tax credit could help many buyers. While Biden has a combined interest in housing assistance and lifting up communities, one urban policy professor is not entirely convinced the entirety of Biden’s plans will be put into action.

“These are some of his more innovative ideas about combining housing assistance with improving communities," says Goetz. "It’s a good thing, [but] I don’t know how much of that is actually going to happen.”

Campaign promise: Address racial discrimination in housing
Even before the Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd, Biden pledged to help fight the racial housing gap. The gap has resulted in lower homeownership rates (and therefore lower household wealth) for communities of color.

He's proposed creating a national standard for appraising homes to make sure properties in communities of color wouldn't be assessed for less than similar homes in comparable white neighborhoods.

"It's certainly a step in the right direction, but it's not going to [completely] solve the problem," says Hale. That's because buyers will ultimately determine the price of a property by how much they're willing to pay for it.

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