It’s time for the federal government to address the housing crisis

Over 20 years ago, the federal government established June as National Homeownership Month to celebrate the value of homeownership and its benefits, including enabling generational wealth and creating strong communities. However, in today’s tumultuous housing landscape, homeownership feels out of reach for many Americans — we need to make changes.

The modern housing market presents challenges for homeowners, renters and prospective buyers alike, creating barriers to the benefits of homeownership unseen by previous generations. Mortgage rates are high and continue to fluctuate, supply cannot keep up with demand and, as a result, housing prices have skyrocketed across the country – making the dream of homeownership unattainable for many Americans.

Since 2019, housing prices have increased about 54%, and nearly half of Americans struggle to afford their monthly housing bills. But this data merely scratches the surface – Americans across the country have experienced today’s housing challenges firsthand and are sharing their stories.  Brenda R., a single mother of six children from Pennsylvania, shared that “the cost of housing is astronomical and a huge part of [her] community cannot afford safe housing,” calling for “workable solutions to this housing crisis” from legislators.

Andrew H. from Illinois, a full-time factory worker and father of two small children, is “sacrificing bills for rent.” 

Mary Lynn T. of Pennsylvania continues to hope for a better housing market so she “does not have to stress about the fixed income [she is] on and what has to be paid every month.”

Unfortunately, these experiences are not unique. Americans are growing weary of the lack of action from the federal government on housing. In fact, the majority of Americans support federal policy solutions to curb rising housing costs and believe that the federal government should do more to expand affordable housing and rental options. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Property Owners Alliance, only 17% of Americans think the current level of federal government involvement in expanding affordable homes and rentals is sufficient, and over half will consider a candidate’s stance on addressing rising housing costs when casting their vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Policymakers must act to pass long-term solutions to lower housing costs and allow more Americans the opportunity to reap the benefits of homeownership. There are policies on the table right now that would rein in rising housing costs and enact these desired solutions.

The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which would put more affordable family homes on the market; the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit designed to encourage investment in the development and preservation of affordable housing; and the Revitalizing Downtowns Act that would convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial and retail spaces, are a few solutions that would improve housing supply and affordability and offer needed relief to struggling Americans.

Our nation is experiencing a housing crisis unlike ever before, and Americans throughout the country are feeling its effects. Policymakers cannot let this issue continue to plague hardworking Americans any longer. Everyone deserves access to housing options that fit their needs and budget – it’s time to change the trajectory of our current market and make this a reality for all.

Collin Allen is the executive director for the American Property Owners Alliance.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of HousingWire’s editorial department and its owners.

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