Housing Supply and the Affordability Crisis: New Evidence from Local Policies
(Housing, Community Development, and Urban Policy)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The rental affordability crisis in major U.S. cities has focused researchers' and policymakers' attention on housing supply. At a time when rents are higher than ever before -- and the percentage of cost-burdened households has reached levels unseen in the modern age -- most neighborhoods are producing far less housing than they did in previous economic expansions. What obstacles are preventing supply from meeting demand? Previous research has demonstrated the importance of regulatory stringency and neighborhood opposition, but it has left open important questions about which regulations are most binding, how and why they are enacted, where housing supply is being constrained the most, and what policies have been effective in relieving some of the pressure on rents by facilitating the construction of affordable housing. The papers in this panel begin to answer these questions using exciting new evidence at the local level, applied with sophisticated spatial techniques that allow neighborhood-by-neighborhood analyses revealing far more variation in policies and outcomes. The result is a more tangible, targeted, and testable set of research findings for housing policy to improve its response to this crisis on the ground where it matters.