How can state governments support healthier housing markets?

30 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2021

Date Written: November 19, 2021


Housing affordability has become an increasingly salient political issue across the U.S. in the past several years, reflecting rapid price appreciation in many metropolitan areas. State governments are beginning to push back against the prerogative of “local control” over land use regulation and housing production. In this paper, I examine the potential benefits of more targeted state engagement with housing markets; review the kinds of policy tools through which state governments can influence housing market outcomes; outline broad goals to guide statewide housing policy; and document the contrasting approaches currently taken by five states. Current state approaches vary widely in the intensity of state engagement, policy goals and tools. Housing market outcomes also differ across and within states; statewide policy approaches should be tailored to specific goals and market conditions.

Keywords: Housing policy, affordability, zoning, state government

JEL Classification: H7, R1, R2, R3, R5

Suggested Citation

Schuetz, Jenny, How can state governments support healthier housing markets? (November 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Jenny Schuetz (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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