brookings.edu

Copyright 2020

January 7, 2020

To improve housing affordability, we need better alignment of zoning, taxes, and subsidies

A housing construction project is seen in San Francisco, California June 2, 2015. The median rent for an apartment in the city is now $4,225 per month, according to local media. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith - GF10000115364

Summary

Housing costs are rising across the nation, and faster than most incomes. While poor renters have long faced an affordability problem, housing in urban areas with strong job markets is becoming increasingly unaffordable for middle-income workers as well. Jenny Schuetz proposes alignment of three policy tools to improve housing affordability, including zoning reform, a land value tax, and more housing subsidies. Better housing policy, Schuetz argues, will create more homes in high-opportunity locations, provide financial relief for low-income families, and improve housing market efficiency.