Opportunities for Better Federal Housing Policy: How the Biden Administration and Congress Can Improve Housing Affordability

9 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021

See all articles by Emily Hamilton

Emily Hamilton

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: January 2021

Abstract

Local restrictions on new housing supply, including minimum lot-size requirements, single-family zoning, parking requirements, and historic preservation rules, all limit the supply of housing allowed within localities and drive up the cost of housing that is permitted. Federal policymakers have an interest in local zoning reform that improves housing affordability and opportunities for people to live in the location where their best job opportunities are located. In the past, members of Congress and administration officials have proposed policies intended to encourage local zoning reform. This policy brief presents an idea for a grant program that is likely to encourage local zoning reform more effectively than what has been proposed previously. This program would reward municipalities with policies demonstrated to permit ample, low-cost construction. Additionally, this brief presents an idea for a pilot program that could improve outcomes of the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Keywords: zoning, housing affordability, housing choice vouchers

JEL Classification: R31, R38

Suggested Citation

Hamilton, Emily, Opportunities for Better Federal Housing Policy: How the Biden Administration and Congress Can Improve Housing Affordability (January 2021). Mercatus Policy Brief Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3777572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3777572

Emily Hamilton (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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