Housing Affordability

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A Message From The National Apartment Association on Housing Affordability

There is a continued discussion locally, statewide and across the country on the need for efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and rental housing of all types. The NAA supports a cooperative effort from local policymakers and the housing industry.

The following are suggestions and issues related to housing affordability:

  • Housing affordability is not an “us vs. them” issue, and that mentality only helps to take us farther from solutions. We all share the same goals—equitable, safe housing for all Americans.
  • The nation’s shortage of affordable housing is of deep concern for the rental housing industry, and stems both from stagnant incomes and lack of supply.
  • Affordable housing is a significant and growing challenge for all Americans. The demand for affordable housing cannot be met by government programs alone. Partnerships between the public and private sector are critical in reaching the shared goal of providing safe, affordable housing for all Americans.
  • The current imbalance of demand for housing and lack of supply has led to a temporary increase in rents in many areas of the country. Rising development costs—and, thus, the rents for residents—can be attributed to several factors, including burdensome building regulations, outdated zoning codes, a lack of financing and, in some cases, community opposition to multifamily housing.
  • America’s affordable housing shortage is an income problem. To view rental housing as prohibitively expensive is an erroneous notion; it’s more a function of general economic principles, with too many renter households earning too low of incomes to afford rents that the market can reasonably bear.
  • While apartment construction has been on the rise in recent years, it is nowhere near the necessary levels to meet the rising demand for rental housing. This demand is exacerbated by a new rental economy, renters by choice and generational preferences for apartment living.
  • There must be greater incentives to invest in existing affordable housing, such as expedited entitlement processes, streamlined regulatory approvals and low-cost financing. Cost-effective rehabilitation projects will provide residents with safe and affordable housing that may not otherwise be possible from a new construction standpoint.
  • Passing local laws that ultimately discourage new rental housing development or create a financial burden for the housing industry will only exacerbate the supply-demand imbalance, and could lead to increased rents over time.

The Washington Multi-Family Housing Association will continue to work with policymakers to support fair, reasonable and productive measures to promote safe, affordable, quality rental homes for our residents, and will strongly oppose unreasonable and unjust laws aimed to unfairly target the housing industry.