Housing Underproduction Report Examines Overall Housing Shortage

Up for Growth has released a new report on the affordable housing shortage. The report, “Housing Underproduction in the U.S.,” finds that from 2012 to 2019, housing underproduction doubled, leaping from a shortage of 1.65 million units in 2012 to a shortage of 3.79 million units in 2019. The report includes data on the shortage by metropolitan region and introduces a policy framework with recommendations about how localities can increase development. The report concludes that there is a housing supply shortage for people of all income levels in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

NLIHC’s annual report, The Gap, assesses the shortage of homes affordable and available to renter households and finds that housing needs are greatest among extremely low-income renter households. The 2022 edition of The Gap documents a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to extremely low-income renter households. The report released by Up for Growth defines “housing underproduction” as the target number of housing units minus the units that are renter- or owner-occupied. The report does not distinguish between housing supply for homeowners and renters, or between income levels, and identifies a cumulative shortage of 3.79 million homes. The underproduction identified by Up for Growth is less than the shortage identified in The Gap both because the lack of affordable and available homes is most acute among extremely low-income households, and because Up for Growth identifies only the need for construction of new units, not the additional need for rental assistance in existing units, as The Gap does.

The report was released at a press event at the National Press Club on July 14. Researchers, housing advocates, and policymakers were invited to discuss the report and ask questions of economists who conducted the research for the report. Jared Bernstein, from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, provided keynote remarks, saying that housing supply has long stalled behind demand, but that the problem is “most acute” among low-income households. Attendees heard from two panels: one focused on report methodology and another highlighting local and federal policy solutions. Several panelists discussed the zoning reforms and land use restrictions, but when asked if local zoning regulations are the best solution for increasing affordable housing for people with the lowest incomes, panelists answered that zoning reforms often help middle-income or wealthy communities but do not serve extremely low-income households. Researchers from the Brookings Institution discussed the need for federal assistance through programs like Housing Choice Vouchers, arguing that such programs are better targeted for extremely low-income households.

View the report here: https://bit.ly/3cfHqTq

See more information on the launch event here: https://bit.ly/3O9h6aX