Aug 3, 2021

More Affordable Housing

There is a housing crisis in the United States and I am not just talking about the homeless living in tents in many cities.  We are short 5 million housing units to meet demand.  In other words, supply is not keeping up with demand, which is the reason that home prices are going through the roof.  The only way to get there is higher density housing in the suburbs.  It is not uncommon to see high rise apartment and condo buildings in some major cities where land is scarce.  And, while we don't need 20 story buildings in the suburbs, it is likely that we do need to see 4 - 6 story buildings on available land. 

Further, excess commercial property needs to be torn down and redeveloped into housing.  This will mean rezoning to include multi use residential; but using the land differently is essential to filling our nation's housing needs.  Clearly, when apartments are built whether for all age groups or 55 or older some number of apartments must be set aside for government subsided housing to provide for more affordable living.  This approach would be far more preferable to building government projects that often turn into slums 10 or more years later.  

As a country, we have to rethink housing to create more affordable housing.  The key is land use.  Getting more units on less land with parks and other amenities nearby.  This also means getting rid of burdensome regulations that can add up to 30% to building cost.  We see the impact in places like California where home prices are extremely high thanks to land values and regulations that add to costs.  

We need 5 million more affordable housing units in the United States.  With some creative approaches we can get there; but business as usual is not working.