5 Reforms for Cities to Increase Affordability

Salim Furth, senior research fellow at Mercatus Center at George Mason University, discusses barriers to building more affordable communities and highlights a few easy-to-implement solutions to alleviate housing affordability issues.

When the pandemic hit, the U.S. was already going through a major affordability crisis. The rising cost of living and continuously growing income disparity have led to millions of Americans being priced out of the housing market.

The solution to a more affordable housing market seems to be simple: more housing. But the barriers to building more affordable properties, however, seem to be relentlessly increasing instead of disappearing. High land and construction costs, outdated zoning regulations, and slow and burdensome permitting and approval systems are some of the challenges developers usually deal with.

In fact, a recent study from Mercatus Center at George Mason University found that the escalation of land use regulations is the major obstacle in creating more affordable cities. “In recent years, the proliferation of land-use regulations has limited development, and it has threatened the income mobility and rising standards of living that come with development,” researchers noted.

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