Currently Reading

Can Looser Zoning Rules Help the Housing Shortage? Biden Thinks So

Government + Policy

Can Looser Zoning Rules Help the Housing Shortage? Biden Thinks So

April 8, 2021
Philly neighborhood
Photo: Christopher Boswell

President Biden’s infrastructure plan will set aside $5 billion for a grant program aimed at tackling “exclusionary” zoning laws that inflate housing costs. Economists and urbanists say loosening zoning and land-use restrictions can address a key hurdle to developing more affordable housing. These zoning laws inflate housing and construction costs, resulting in families locked out of areas with more opportunities, says the Wall Street Journal. Housing shortages are not exclusive to dense cities such as Boston and San Francisco, but metros such as Grand Rapids, Mich. and Austin, Texas. Housing shortages accelerated as a result of record-low mortgage rates and the pandemic.

“There are so many decisions made at the local level that can impede the development of affordable housing that federal policy makers should push communities to reorganize their approach to development from the ground up,” wrote Jim Parrott and Mark Zandi in a report last week for the Urban Institute, a Washington-based research group. Mr. Parrott is a former Obama administration housing adviser, and Mr. Zandi is the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

Some economists and urbanists say easing zoning and land-use restrictions would address a key barrier to expanding the supply of dwellings available for rent or sale, which is the tightest in 30 years. Local regulations on environmental protection and road, school and sewer capacity often have strong support among residents, who generally want to keep property values high.

Joseph Gyourko, a real-estate and finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said the Biden administration’s proposed grant program would help compensate for the costs and burdens of new construction, such as increased congestion, that can stymie affordable housing projects.

Read More

Related Stories

Housing Policy + Finance

Biden Proposes 15% Budget Increase for HUD Aimed at Affordable Housing

President Biden hopes to increase the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget by 15%, with funds aimed at boosting affordable…

Housing Policy + Finance

How Biden’s Proposed Infrastructure Plan Would Boost Wellness in Homes

President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan would enhance the wellness for thousands of homes across the country, advancing the availability…


Time to Bring Housing Home to Elected Officials

NAHB is promoting "Bringing Housing Home," an outreach for builders to meet and contact their elected officials about issues affecting the industry


More in Category


Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.