Affordable Housing Shortage

March 2, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 9
Can new policies increase the supply?
By Christina L. Lyons


Community activist Elizabeth Blaney stands in front of a Los Angeles (Cover: AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown)
Community activist Elizabeth Blaney stands in front of a Los Angeles apartment building where rents rose by as much as $800 last year. In major metro areas around the country, rising demand for homes and apartments has caused rents to soar, pricing low-income residents out of many neighborhoods. (Cover: AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown)

The improving economy has sent millions of Americans back to work, but many cannot afford housing near their jobs. Rising demand for homes and apartments has caused prices to soar, especially in major metro areas. The problem defies an easy fix. Zoning codes and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) activists often block new affordable-housing projects. Land in and around urban centers is scarce and expensive, and construction costs are rising sharply, prompting developers to target new projects at higher-income renters and buyers. Some cities are increasing housing density in downtown areas or considering imposing rent controls in an effort to make housing more affordable, but urban-planning experts differ on the effectiveness of such steps. The poor, meanwhile, are being priced out of many neighborhoods, swelling the ranks of the homeless. Housing advocates say more federal help is needed, but President Trump has proposed deep cuts to housing programs, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wants to tighten eligibility rules for aid recipients.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 23, 2022  Homelessness Crisis
Apr. 02, 2021  Evictions and COVID-19
Mar. 02, 2018  Affordable Housing Shortage
Nov. 06, 2015  Housing Discrimination
Feb. 20, 2015  Gentrification
Apr. 05, 2013  Homeless Students
Dec. 14, 2012  Future of Homeownership
Dec. 18, 2009  Housing the Homeless
Nov. 02, 2007  Mortgage Crisis Updated
Feb. 09, 2001  Affordable Housing
Jan. 06, 1989  Affordable Housing: Is There Enough?
Oct. 30, 1981  Creative Home Financing
Nov. 07, 1980  Housing the Poor
Dec. 21, 1979  Rental Housing Shortage
Nov. 24, 1978  Housing Restoration and Displacement
Apr. 22, 1977  Housing Outlook
Sep. 26, 1973  Housing Credit Crunch
Aug. 06, 1969  Communal Living
Jul. 09, 1969  Private Housing Squeeze
Mar. 04, 1966  Housing for the Poor
Apr. 10, 1963  Changing Housing Climate
Sep. 26, 1956  Prefabricated Housing
Sep. 02, 1949  Cooperative Housing
May 14, 1947  Liquidation of Rent Controls
Dec. 17, 1946  National Housing Emergency, 1946-1947
Mar. 05, 1946  New Types of Housing
Oct. 08, 1941  Rent Control
Aug. 02, 1938  The Future of Home Ownership
Sep. 05, 1934  Building Costs and Home Renovation
Nov. 20, 1933  Federal Home Loans and Housing
Nov. 17, 1931  Housing and Home Ownership
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Credit and Debt
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Fair Housing and Housing for Special Groups
Financial Institutions
General Employment and Labor
Low Income and Public Housing
Mortgage Loans and Home Finance
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Regulation and Deregulation
Rental Housing