New report: U.S. fell 7.3 million units behind housing demand from 2000 – 2015

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WASHINGTON, DC, April 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- From 2000 to 2015, the U.S. fell 7.3 million units short of meeting housing demand, according to new research from the Up for Growth National Coalition, ECONorthwest, and Holland Government Affairs.  details the depth and breadth of the housing crisis by focusing on the 22 states and Washington, DC that failed to meet their historic housing production demand. While California accounts for over 45% of the total shortage at nearly 3.4 million units, states in nearly every corner of the country underproduced housing, representing over 5% of total housing stock. In addition to increasing rents and home prices at an unsustainable level, failure to meet housing demand has other negative societal impacts, including suppressing national GDP, generating negative environmental impacts, and pushing individuals and families with limited incomes farther away from job centers.  The report also examines three scenarios to meet housing demand, including a smart growth approach that focuses on boosting transit-oriented development.  “The housing shortage is far more severe than originally believed, and much more widespread,” said “From California to Maine, the supply of housing is simply not matching its growing demand. Not building enough new housing pushes rents up, forces quality of life down, and is a significant drag on the economy. As this research clearly shows, these trends and the barriers to building market-rate and affordable housing are unsustainable. To achieve affordable, sustainable, and vibrant communities, we need a new approach to housing.” The report goes beyond simply identifying the depth of the housing shortage. It examines three different approaches to meeting demand: more of the same, intensifying urban density, and smart growth. More of the same assigns new housing based on existing patters that favor low-density, suburban sprawl. Intensifying urban density assigns additional housing units through a top down approach, filling in the densest existing block groups first to provide a comparative, if infeasible, baseline representing the extreme end of dense development. Smart growth would favor new housing based on a formula of existing density, distance to transit stops, and the share of commuters in a given area who drive their own vehicles to work. The research proved the significant benefits in the smart growth scenario. For example:

“This new report makes a strong analytic case for policies that would enable a greater volume of higher density, transit-oriented development,” said  “The findings offer compelling evidence that such policies would reduce infrastructure costs and vehicle miles traveled and expand the supply of housing, helping to alleviate upward pressure on rents and home values. Importantly, the report’s recommendations also point to the need to capture a portion of the value created by allowing higher density development to provide financial support for a much-needed expansion of the supply of affordable housing.”

The research offers four policy prescriptions needed to enable a Smart Growth approach to new housing development. These include:

"As demonstrated in this report, the shortage of available and affordable homes, coupled with unsustainable rising rents and stagnating incomes has become truly a national problem, especially for lower-income families, millennials, and seniors,” said  “We know that when a home is affordable and accessible to transit it promotes financial stability and economic mobility. It leads to better health outcomes, improves children’s school performance, and supports employment retention. We simply need the political will to make housing a national priority and support proven smart growth policies, increased investments, and scalable solutions." The technical advisory board for the report is an impressive group of housing economists and researchers. These include Harvard’s Dr. Chris Herbert; George Washington University and Brookings Institution’s Christopher Leinberger; Dr. Peter Linneman from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Carol Galante at the University of California, Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation; and Dr. Mark Obrinsky, the chief economist at the National Multifamily Housing Council in Washington, DC. “This report clearly defines the severity of the housing shortage in the United States,” said  “We are challenging policymakers at all levels to come together to pass meaningful reforms that encourage new development for all kinds of housing, including affordable. The status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.”

Lewis Lowe
Up for Growth
202-333-2234
llowe@upforgrowth.org

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Globe Newswire: 20:00 GMT Monday 16th April 2018

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