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NAHB: Most homeowners now view housing market’s affordability problem as a crisis

Expert says the crisis is mostly harming the nation's middle- and low-income households

As housing affordability continues to be a cause of concern for the nation’s homeowners, a report from the National Association of Homebuilders indicates that many Americans now perceive the problem to be a crisis.

In August, the NAHB surveyed more than 19,000 adults to gauge the public’s attitude on housing affordability in their housing markets.

According to their findings, 80% of American households now believe the nation is suffering from a housing affordability crisis. Additionally, at least 75% reported housing affordability was a problem at both the state and local level.

"Housing affordability is near a 10-year low and this poll confirms the challenges hard-working families face to keep housing within reach as rising costs continue to outpace wage growth," said Greg Ugalde, NAHB chairman. "Policymakers must roll back inefficient zoning rules, costly impact fees and outmoded land development regulations that are driving up housing costs, contributing to the mounting lack of affordable housing and hurting middle-and low-income households."

Earlier this year, a report from Redfin revealed that home price appreciation was quickly rising in the nation’s most affordable markets.

The company’s chief economist, Daryl Fairweather, said this growth is likely to push homeownership further out of reach for America’s low-income population.

“Now that the economic expansion is in its 10th year, some working-and middle-class Americans are finally starting to see wage increases significant enough to ready them to buy their first homes,” Fairweather said. “But economic growth is a double-edged sword for the housing market. The increase in demand for low-and moderately-priced starter homes is pushing up prices for the most affordable segment of the market.”

This month, CoreLogic announced it now projects home price appreciation to climb by 5.4% come 2020.  If the company’s projections are accurate, this could indicate a growing affordability crisis on a national scale.

When the NAHB asked respondents during its August survey about potential solutions to the housing affordability problem, many expressed modest-to-strong support for policy prescriptions put forth by various legislators.

According to the organization, 64% of respondents said they would support a proposal to expand government programs to increase the supply of affordable rental housing, while 62% said they would support a proposal to provide grants to families in areas historically affected by housing discrimination.

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