Meeting the Washington Region’s Future Housing Needs

Meeting the Washington Region’s Future Housing Needs

Inaction on housing affordability challenges could ultimately undermine the region’s future economic growth and prosperity. Housing challenges like these can undermine worker productivity, make it harder for companies to attract and retain employees, and discourage companies from locating in the area. Recent job and population trends suggest that housing constraints and affordability challenges may already be slowing employment growth and causing people to leave the Washington region.
Government, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders can join together on shared 10-year targets, committing to evidence-based actions to achieve a healthy housing market and ensuring that the region’s housing market supports economic prosperity and serves all its residents. Such targets would do the following:
Shrink the existing affordability gap. Today, the number of low-cost housing units falls short of household needs by 264,000.
Boost housing production to keep pace with growth. At the economic growth rate projected by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the region needs 374,000 more housing units by 2030; faster growth would require more.
Align more housing units with expected household needs and resources. The region needs at least 40 percent more middle-cost housing units to match expected needs.
Meeting these targets requires local governments across the region to strengthen or expand existing policies and adopt new strategies to advance three key objectives. First, they need to make targeted investments that preserve existing affordable low-income housing units. Second, they should make it easier and more attractive for the private sector to produce more housing at different affordability levels, especially in the middle-cost range. And third, they should protect both renters and homebuyers from discrimination and involuntary displacement.

Margery Austin Turner, Leah Hendey, Maya Brennan, Peter A. Tatian, and Kathryn Reynolds

Urban Institute

September 4, 2019

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By |2019-09-12T11:24:04-07:00January 1st, 2018|Affordability, Land Use Regulation, Reference|