News and Commentary
Julia Falcon over at Housing Wire has compiled a list of the 2020 democratic presidential candidates plans to make housing more affordable in the United States. The plans range from building more affordable housing units to leveraging HUD grant money to assist poorer black communities with housing affordability.
A new YIMBY-oriented bill has been introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) called the Build More Housing Near Transit Act, with a pretty straightforward goal of building more housing near transit. Housing shortages have been particularly problematic in coastal cities such as Rep. Peters’ San Diego district because of local zoning laws that restrict new housing development.
One of the more difficult problems of zoning policy change is that, when it does happen, it is often concentrated in lower-income neighborhoods and not put into high-income neighborhoods where new housing supply would do the most good. Brian Goggin in Greater Greater Washington reports how D.C. Mayor Bowser’s housing plan would include a focus on greater development in the tony Northwest DC, which has not contributed its fair share to housing supply in the past decades.
Mercatus Center’s Emily Hamilton has a new paper on inclusionary zoning, policies that require a certain number of units be set aside at below market rates, with rents set as a function of area median income. She finds that mandatory inclusionary zoning increases rents in non-IZ units, but doesn’t have an overall effect on new housing supply. Optional inclusionary zoning in the form of “density bonuses” also has little effect on affordable housing unit construction.