Housing has long been one of the staples of American society and the United States’ economic prowess has afforded its citizens an abundance of safe and decent housing. The national homeownership rate as of Q1, 2004 is 68.6 percent, according to realtor.com. But, this success is tempered by the fact that some Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to afford housing in their communities. Housing prices are growing faster than incomes in some areas, in severe cases, pricing low-income buyers out of the market. The real estate boom of the last few years has caused housing prices to skyrocket, making it difficult for low- and middle-income families in many areas to purchase a home. Unfortunately, most of the political remedies aimed at making housing more affordable to these families don’t consider the real world functioning of housing markets and wind up making the problem worse. “Affordable housing” is now in the lexicon of seemingly every state, city, and housing advocacy group. The issue has gained political momentum in state and local government debates. This year California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger specifically mentioned affordable housing as an important issue he would address to enhance California’s economic competitiveness, as did the governors of New Jersey, Hawaii, Oregon, and perhaps others. Local politics, particularly in high-cost areas around the nation as diverse as Madison, Wisconsin and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, are inundated with affordable housing debates and with various candidates using the housing issue to appeal to voters and get a leg up in elections.