New York, NY – For both renters and owners, American homes have never been more expensive than they are today. In fact, pricey housing is spreading beyond coastal metropolitan areas into traditionally affordable ones, particularly in the Sun Belt. The underlying cause of this spreading housing crisis? Excessive government regulation preventing enough homes from being available to hardworking Americans.
In a new issue brief, senior fellow Michael Hendrix offers lawmakers an invaluable toolkit for housing reform. He details the depth and causes of America’s housing affordability crisis and then provides actionable solutions and messaging to address it. Stressing that states should lead the way in tackling this nationwide problem, Hendrix offers three “policy menus” based on examples of successful state housing policies and proposals:
Restoring property rights: protecting citizens’ rights to modify or build on their property through measures such as a Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, a Housing Appeals Board, a Permit Shot Clock, and ensuring that local laws stem from local plans.
Making housing pay off: offering awards for positive housing outcomes, using increased tax revenue from new housing to benefit the surrounding community, and establishing savings programs to help households make down payments.
Streamlining local government: legalizing the construction of “starter homes,” simplifying building and design rules, banning outright housing bans, and promoting innovation in construction technology through regulatory sandboxes.
Families, workers, and property owners would be the principal beneficiaries of such reforms. The artificial housing shortage has hurt these three groups especially hard, putting up economic barriers to starting families, dissuading low-wage workers from moving to high-opportunity places, and regularly preventing homeowners from using their property as they’d like.
Keeping the American dream alive hinges on helping these three groups, and Hendrix’s report provides policies promising to do just that.