Homebuyers sacrifice space for affordability - survey

NAHB warns zoning regulations hinder affordable housing

Homebuyers sacrifice space for affordability - survey

Prospective homebuyers are more willing to compromise on lot sizes and square footage to secure affordable housing in the face of high mortgage rates and home prices, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported.

Nearly four out of 10 buyers would be willing to give up land to own a home, while more than a third (35%) are open to accepting a smaller house if that’s what it takes to become homeowners, according to NAHB’s recent survey.

The enduring appeal of homeownership was underscored by a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey, which found that 67% of Americans consider housing a good investment. Another Federal Reserve survey highlighted the role of homeownership in wealth building, with the median net housing value for homeowners increasing significantly from 2019 to 2022.

“Buyers place a high value on homeownership and are prepared to make significant compromises to invest in their future,” chairman Carl Harris said in NAHB’s news release.

Despite buyers’ willingness to downsize their living spaces and lot sizes, Harris noted that ineffective zoning plans make it harder and more expensive for builders to construct smaller homes on smaller plots of land, hindering affordability.

“Home builders are willing to meet this demand but are hamstrung by a mix of regulatory burdens. Housing industry leaders are ready and willing to work with policymakers to find concrete solutions to help more families achieve the American Dream,” Harris said.

In response, NAHB has proposed a 10-point housing plan to address the affordability crisis, urging local and state governments to relax zoning restrictions to allow for smaller lots, accessory dwelling units, and “missing middle housing” like duplexes and townhomes.

To further advocate for policy changes that promote housing affordability, builders from across the country are set to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on June 12.

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