Raising the alarm about the nation’s housing supply crisis, Leslie Rouda Smith, president of the National Association of REALTORS®, told policymakers at a White House meeting Wednesday that the U.S. is short 5.5 million homes to meet the needs of its population—and that’s creating new affordability challenges for millions of Americans.
“Housing supply is the number one issue for millions of consumers who are locked out of the market,” Rouda Smith said following the meeting, which included other housing leaders who also stressed possible solutions to overcome the shortage. “I conveyed to the administration and my colleagues our support for a comprehensive plan that includes investment in new construction, zoning reforms, expansion of financing, and tax incentives to spur investment in housing and convert unused commercial space to residential.”
The White House meeting also included National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Domestic Policy Council Director Ambassador Susan Rice, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra Thompson. Leaders from other housing industry organizations also were present, including the Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Multi-Housing Council and National Fair Housing Alliance.
During the meeting, housing officials highlighted legislative, administrative, private sector, and state and local actions needed to address housing supply and affordability. “Discussions like this are critical to raising awareness about housing affordability,” Rouda Smith said. “Middle-income, first-time and first-generation home buyers feel the most impact of this supply shortage as they face greater obstacles in the current economic climate.”
NAHB CEO Jerry Howard said the nation is facing a growing housing affordability crisis and the meeting with top administration officials came at a critical time to address how to move the housing market forward and boost the economy. Among the calls for solutions, Howard said builders have urged the administration to create policies to ease supply chain problems, which they’ve said contribute to construction delays and higher home building costs.