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Priced Out: The Persistence Of Single-Family Housing

What's behind the affordable housing crisis?
What's behind the affordable housing crisis?

The affordable housing crisis is happening.

The national median sales price for an existing home in 2018 was more than 4.1 times the median household income—somewhat higher than the 3.7 ratio averaged from 1990 to 2018.

And part of it might be the result of the persistence of single-family housing.

Curbed broke down why zoning for single-family housing is contentious, and may not be a long-term solution for the housing crisis:

Recently, policymakers at the state and local levels across the country have zeroed in on a culprit: zoning that limits development to single-family detached houses in large swaths of America. From the east and west coasts to the Midwest, lawmakers are beating the drum for upzoning, which means changing single-family zoning codes to allow taller and denser housing, like duplexes, triplexes, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and apartment buildings. In the last few years, upzoning legislation has been introduced or passed in California, Oregon, Washington, Seattle, Minneapolis, Nebraska, Virginia, and Maryland. The federal government has also expressed interest in pressing local governments to relax zoning laws that prohibit multi-family housing.

There’s been a clear change in housing affordability. Those numbers tell part of the story, but how did we get here in the first place? And what plans do lawmakers have to make housing more affordable?

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