We Need More Houses. Here’s How We Can Build Them.

By the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

We Need More Houses. Here’s How We Can Build Them.

Housing supply isn’t keeping up with demand, and it’s holding back our economy and worsening inflation, write Suzanne P. Clark, Chamber President and CEO, and Brian Deese director of the White House National Economic Council.

Why it matters: “Employers are forced to operate below their potential because they can’t attract or retain workers,” they explain in the Wall Street Journal. “One study estimated that this misallocation could cost up to 2% of gross domestic product, or more than $400 billion a year in lost economic output. Housing costs also play a major role in inflation, making up the largest component of the consumer price index.”

Be smart: Clark and Deese lay out three ways government and the private sector can work together to increase the amount of housing in America.

  1. Remove unnecessary barriers. “For decades, exclusionary zoning laws—like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements and prohibitions on multifamily housing—have inflated costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities.”
  2. Fix worker shortages and supply chain issues. “Helping to alleviate supply-chain challenges and attract more workers into the building trades will help us turn the record number of housing units currently under construction into homes where Americans can live.”
  3. Make it easier to finance new affordable housing. Congress should enact and expand “federal tax credits—like the low-income housing tax credit and the neighborhood homes tax credit—which are projected to enable the construction or rehabilitation of nearly one million affordable homes.”

Bottom line: “By addressing these issues and the regulatory barriers that impede the construction of new affordable homes, we can help bring down costs for families and speed economic growth,” Clark and Deese write.