New Democrat Coalition Calls for Building Millions More Housing Units

Filed in Capitol Hill, Codes and Regulations by on June 6, 2018 4 Comments

The New Democrat Coalition, a group of moderate House Democrats, has released a white paper seeking to find a solution to chronic problems facing the housing industry.

The report, Missing Millions of Homes, says its goal is clear: “We need to build millions of more housing units.”

“NAHB commends the work of the New Democrat Coalition Housing Task Force to seek solutions to the nation’s housing affordability and shortage woes,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. “Housing construction creates jobs, contributes to the tax base and is important for a strong and healthy economy. We look forward to working with Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to find solutions that will help builders construct sorely needed affordable housing units for hard-working American families.”

In crafting the document, the New Democrat Coalition worked closely with NAHB and Democratic lawmakers relied heavily on our research and data that we provided them.

While the white paper notes that lawmakers need to continue to flesh out and develop full policy recommendations, the document listed the following factors that are among the causes of a housing construction shortfall:

  • Zoning and land-use regulations are slowing and restricting building of housing.
  • Demand has shifted to walkable transit-served urban areas, which are in short supply.
  • Construction funding is less available in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
  • Construction labor is not getting more productive and the labor pool is not increasing.

NAHB believes the following steps need to be taken to help address current problems in the housing market and boost new home and apartment construction:

  • Reduce burdensome regulations that add up to 25% of the cost of a new home.
  • Enact a long-term trade agreement with Canada that will ensure American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of lumber at reasonable prices.
  • Increase the domestic supply of timber from public lands.
  • Promote workforce development.
  • Update the nation’s inefficient zoning and land-use laws.

The New Democrat Coalition’s white paper represents an important step forward in keeping housing issues at the forefront on Capitol Hill.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Rick Koze says:

    Whoever is in charge of this initiative is right on target.

    As a local residential developer and home builder, I can verify what this white paper said is completely accurate.

    Regulation is crippling the housing market and it is mostly at the local level. Township consultants along with EPA have dramatically increased their requirements and are charging more than ever for their monitoring services. Local townships must be held accountable. Don’t know how the federal government can help here, but this is where the problem lies

    It is the exact opposite of what you would think following one of our worst recessions ever.

    I would add however that there is demand across the board not just for walkable communities or communities near transit.

    This initiative will take a lot of resolve and perseverance. Hope something comes of it.

  2. jesse hammen says:

    What is included in the “Burdensome Regulations”? I hope it is the silly amount we are required to pay to worker’s compensation. I believe in the need for a program to help injured workers, but 17-50 cents on the dollar is ridiculous.

  3. I fully agree with the steps NAHB is proposing but I’d have prioritized the last one first.

    In “Home-Rule” states like New Jersey, land use approvals are local meaning they are granted by each of 565 municipalities. These approvals are far too often parochial, political, prejudicial (as in anti-affordable housing), and subject to appeal even if the underlying zoning ordinance fully permits the proposed development.

    To make matters worse, when an appeal is filed, the court system is slow, inefficient, and many of the Judges who hear these cases don’t understand land use law and often overturn approvals that a builder is entitled to under the law.

    The cost of this entitlement process adds as much as 30% to the cost of an average sized home in NJ.

  4. Al Zichella says:

    Zoning and land use are local issues. I approve of the work that went into the white paper and laud NAHB for their input and insightful recommendations. Regulation is the big issue for affordable housing, as mandates and other price controls that get imposed on developers and builders make affordable housing production very difficult, if not impossible, as they ultimately constrict all housing supply. If affordable housing projects are unprofitable no one will undertake them, and mandates (such as Inclusionary Zoning) make these projects unviable as they do not pencil out.

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