Broad Cross Section of Americans Strongly Supports Housing Policy Solutions

Nationally representative survey provides insights on opinions of diverse audiences

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Large majorities of Americans from different backgrounds and regions support a range of policies to make housing more available and affordable, according to a nationally representative survey conducted for The Pew Charitable Trusts. For policymakers looking to ease the national shortage of 4 million to 7 million homes, understanding public opinion is critical. Although the survey’s overall findings were published in November 2023, more recent analyses provide insights on the attitudes of many subgroups, including people from big cities, small towns, rural areas, and suburbs, as well as from different partisan viewpoints.

Widespread support across regions. Whether in California, Texas, Florida, or New York, residents favor policies that would enable the construction of more housing. These policies include allowing apartments near transit or job centers, converting basements and attics into living spaces, and implementing reforms that make it easier and faster to get building permits.

Cross-partisan agreement. People from different political parties agree that more housing is needed. This includes support for measures that allow for the building of more dorms and affordable homes on college or church land as well as provisions that permit commercial buildings to be turned into housing.

Swing constituents. Though many policies have broad support, some concepts face more resistance than others. For example, reforms that would add housing that is not part of existing single-family blocks received very strong support (75% to 81% in total). On the other hand, those that would add housing in single-family areas were still popular (49% to 58% support) but markedly less so. The survey results help illuminate which policy changes are more popular with this swing group of respondents than others.

Inclusive housing policies. Across all income levels, homeowners and renters broadly support steps to allow conversion of existing spaces to increase the amount of housing and to boost the number of units near amenities. This indicates a broad consensus that housing reforms are necessary to address rising costs and shortages.

Specific policies favored. Some of the more popular ideas include measures to eliminate minimum parking requirements and to allow small multifamily homes in more areas. These reforms have already been successfully implemented in cities such as Minneapolis, which has seen a boost in housing availability that can be attributed to such changes.

Restrictive zoning. In Virginia and other jurisdictions, strict zoning laws have made housing less affordable because they limit the types of homes that can be built. This has led to higher rents and home prices, which many people find difficult to afford. Other states, however, such as Arizona, Colorado, and Montana, are showing the way forward by adopting more flexible zoning laws that are helping to increase housing supply.

The strong and widespread support for new housing policies highlights the urgency of addressing the continuing housing shortage in the United States. By adopting tested reforms, communities can make homes more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Contact: Esther Bergeberg@pewtrust.org, pewtrusts.org/housingpolicy

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SOURCE The Pew Charitable Trusts

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