The Biden administration announced on Wednesday a goal to increase the nation’s affordable housing supply with 100,000 new units available for homeowners and renters over the next three years. To do that, the administration called for a number of new policies and efforts, such as greater financing for manufactured homes and two-to-four unit properties as well as called for state and local governments to reform zoning restrictions that are limiting supply.
The administration’s announcement comes as the nation faces a severe housing shortage, especially in the lower price brackets of homes. As shortages persist, home and rental prices have surged from high demand in the pandemic.
Charlie Oppler, president of the National Association of REALTORS®, applauded the administration’s efforts to address America’s housing supply crisis. NAR released a study this summer that put the crisis more in perspective: The nation faces a shortfall of 5.5 million to 6.8 million housing units since 2001.
“NAR has long advocated for many of these policies; we are encouraged and grateful for the effort put forth by the White House,” Oppler said in a statement about Biden’s plan. “Affordable homeownership brings a magnitude of benefits to families, communities, and our national economy, and now is the time to ensure we continue that support.”
Still, Oppler says a lot will need to be done to help the nation overcome the critical housing shortage. “The administration’s plan to make available 100,000 new homes is just a small fraction of the roughly 6 million units needed to fill the gap in housing supply,” Oppler says. “The current state of the market does not afford many Americans from low- and middle-income households the opportunity to purchase and own a home and continues to hold back the true potential of our market and our overall economy. … We look forward to continuing our close work alongside both Congress and the administration as we seek even more opportunities to expand access to the American Dream.”
Specifically, the White House announcement on Wednesday directed federal agencies to do the following in achieving the 100,000 affordable housing goal:
- Relaunch the partnership between the Department of Treasury Federal Financing Bank and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Risk Sharing Program. The program, which originally ended in 2019, would allow eligible state housing finance agencies to provide low-cost capital for affordable housing development.
- Boost the supply of manufactured housing and 2-4 unit properties by expanding financing through Freddie Mac.
- Make more single-family homes available to individuals, families, and non-profit organizations—rather than large investors—by limiting the sale to large investors of certain FHA-insured and HUD-owned properties. Also, expand and create exclusivity periods where only governmental entities, owner-occupants, and qualified nonprofit organizations are able to bid on certain FHA-insured and government-owned properties.
- Work with state and local governments to boost housing supply by using existing federal funds to launch local action, explore helping states and local governments reduce exclusionary zoning, and launch learning and listening sessions with local leaders.