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White House Supports Commercial-to-Residential Conversions

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Government + Policy

White House Supports Commercial-to-Residential Conversions

The Biden administration has announced new plans to fast-track turning vacant commercial buildings into affordable housing

October 31, 2023
Exterior of commercial office building that could be converted into housing
Image: alice_photo / stock.adobe.com

A newly introduced White House plan aims to address a nationwide housing shortage by converting vacant commercial buildings into residential spaces. With the highest office vacancy rates in 30 years, the administration's initiative seeks to transform underused commercial properties into affordable, energy-efficient housing near transit and employment opportunities.

The effort aligns with the Biden administration's 2022 Housing Supply Action Plan, which seeks to close the housing supply gap by creating and preserving affordable housing. Multiple government agencies and programs will support commercial-to-residential conversions with the help of new financing and technical assistance that will provide additional incentives, guidance, and funding opportunities, the National Association of Realtors reports.

“America is facing a more than $4 trillion underinvestment in housing that has left us short some 5.5 million homes,” says Tracy Kasper, president of the National Association of REALTORS, which applauded the White House plan. “With many office buildings sitting empty, converting underused commercial space into multifamily housing is an innovative, tangible and sensible solution that will also address housing affordability, which is currently at a historic low.”

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