To Solve the Problem of Unaffordable Entry-level Housing, Abolish Single-family Zoning (Commentary)

To Solve the Problem of Unaffordable Entry-level Housing, Abolish Single-family Zoning (Commentary)

Exorbitant housing prices represent imbalances in the supply and demand for residences. But many of the housing shortages faced by US communities are “self-inflicted wounds” resulting from overly restrictive zoning and other land-use practices, argue Edward Pinto and Tobias Peter of the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center. As a first step, the two propose a standard affordability tracking system. AEI’s new “Carpenter Index” uses a carpenter’s household income to gauge affordability of entry-level housing across the nation’s 100 largest metros. “It estimates the share of entry-level homes the average carpenter households — a proxy for the blue-collar workforce — can afford to purchase,” Pinto and Peter write. Durham, NC is one community where “by right development” policies, which encourage the construction of smaller multi-family residential properties, has won support from market-oriented development interests, civil rights groups and environmental advocates.

 

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