There’s a growing bipartisan consensus that regulatory burdens in local housing markets impede economic growth and upward mobility.
The Yes in My Backyard (Yimby) Act, introduced by Reps. Trey Hollingsworth (R., Ind.) and Denny Heck (D., Wash.), recently passed the House of Representatives. The bill requires cities seeking community-development funds from the federal government to report their progress in removing local regulatory obstacles, such as restrictive zoning rules or onerous permitting processes, that hamper housing affordability by limiting new construction.
The term “Yimby” in the bill’s title is a play on Nimby, or “not in my backyard,” the moniker given to a person who, while not necessarily opposed to new housing, strongly opposes development in his own neighborhood. A Yimby, by contrast, is much more likely to offer unconditional support for new housing, wherever it might go.
The Yimby Act aims to prod expensive cities and suburbs into accommodating more affordable housing. And though it won’t unleash a flood of pro-housing reform, the information the bill aims to collect will help the federal government better understand the problem. It also signals a growing bipartisan consensus that regulatory burdens in local housing markets are a source of regional and national impediments to economic growth and upward mobility.
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