Eighty-two percent of Americans want policymakers to consider housing affordability when contemplating new legislation and regulations, according to a recent survey conducted by the polling firm Morning Consult on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The most popular solution to ease housing affordability woes, cited by 66% of the survey respondents, would be to provide incentives to private builders and developers to create more affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households.
Respondents also cited the following federal policies to improve housing affordability:
- 61% approve providing incentives for owners of older homes to update and make them more resilient to flooding and high winds.
- 59% support incentives for local governments to ease zoning regulations that prevent construction of more affordable housing.
- 54% said easing regulations that create roadblocks for building accessory dwelling units, such as in-law suites and tiny homes, would be helpful.
Building lower-cost and higher-density homes also received strong support from respondents. A mid-rise condominium building with units for sale, a two-story apartment building with units for rent, and new townhomes for sale all garnered solid support from current homeowners, at 40%, 55%, and 60%, respectively.
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As demonstrated by the recent passage of bipartisan legislation to improve the nation’s infrastructure, 70% of respondents support government spending that would improve existing housing by offering homeowners incentives to bring their older homes up to current building and energy codes. Support to strengthen the nation’s housing infrastructure remained strong, even if such spending added to the national debt, with 64% in favor.
And while a majority of respondents reported that they own their homes, there was strong support for single-family homes specifically built for rental purposes rather than for sale. While this concept has yet to become a dominant market sector, only making up about 6% of new homes built, most respondents said they would be comfortable with new single-family built-to-rent housing constructed within a mile walk from their house. Another housing type that received a large percentage of approval from respondents was manufactured housing, or mobile homes, built within a mile walk of their home.
Americans are looking to the federal government to financially support the construction of more housing. Legislators at all levels of government who ignore housing affordability should reconsider because voters across the spectrum are likely to push back. Now is the time for policymakers to encourage and enable builders to produce more housing—whether single-family dwellings, condominiums, mobile homes, or townhomes—and to provide the American dream of homeownership and improved housing opportunity to more families.
Morning Consult is a survey research group based in Washington, D.C. Polling results can be found at nahbhousingportal.org.