It’s safe to say that Danielle and Colin Lloyd’s attempt to purchase a home in Atlanta last year went about as well as you’d expect.
“There is nothing in this whole area, just nothing,” Danielle says. The couple sought a home with at least a small yard to accommodate their growing family.
“The prices were just ridiculous,” says Colin. “People were bidding much higher than the house listed for.”
“I only cried twice,” Danielle chimes in.
In the meantime, their landlord was preparing to hike their rent by $450 a month because of the same problem—not enough properties to rent or purchase.
“We’re seeing a shortage, or housing underproduction, in all corners of the U.S.,” says Mike Kingsella, the CEO of Up for Growth, which issued a report on the issue on Thursday. Affordable housing and business organisations make up the nonprofit research group.
“America’s fallen 3.8 million homes short of meeting housing needs,” he says. “And that’s both rental housing and ownership.”
Many Americans can now not afford a home because of the rise in property prices over the previous few years. Rents are also rapidly rising. There is a significant problem with our historic housing crisis. Prices rise when demand is great, and supply is limited.
A portion of the problem stems from the 2008 housing crisis. According to economists, we didn’t develop enough homes for a decade after that.
As a result, the research conducted by Up for Growth examined the state of affairs in over 800 cities and towns.
“In Los Angeles, for instance, which is the most underproduced metro in the country, it’s lacking 8.4% — nearly 400,000 homes missing across the region,” Kingsella says. To put it another way, with the number of people living in Los Angeles, much more housing should be available to fulfil demand.
It’s not only Los Angeles that’s a hotbed of crime, and there is a lack of housing in hundreds of major cities and small villages, from Boston to Boise. But Kingsella says this is a solvable problem: “It doesn’t have to be this way, is a key message coming out of this report.”
According to him, the most pressing issue is that governments and localities must rethink zoning regulations.
Changing outdated zoning standards is essential:
Housing advocate YIMBY Action has a local group in Atlanta led by Ernest Brown.
“The YIMBY movement, which stands for ‘yes in my backyard,’ is kind of poking fun at the idea of NIMBY, ‘not in my backyard,'” he says, referring to the long-standing issue of current homeowners opposing efforts to introduce more affordable housing into their areas. Often, they fear increased density would alter the community’s character or cause traffic and parking issues.
Brown contends that many cities, such as Atlanta, still rely on antiquated zoning regulations permitting large apartment complexes in the downtown area or large single-family houses on large lots. According to him, the outcome is the “missing middle” of more affordable townhouses or smaller starter homes closer together.
Brown constantly hears individuals lamenting their inability to purchase a home. When they don’t attend meetings, he encourages them to contact their elected officials on their behalf.
“They want to hear from you, particularly at the local level,” he says. One of the things Brown appreciates about the housing issue is that it allows him to be active in the local community rather than just ranting about Washington’s far-off federal officials. He believes that significant reforms are needed at the state and municipal levels.
“I have the phone number and regularly chat with my council person.”
We need more homes, say Economists:
There is significant disagreement around the severity of the shortfall in terms of the number of houses required by the United States. According to Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, the gap is closer to 1.6 million residences. This research did not include him.
“It’s challenging to know precisely what the shortage is,” Zandi says. “But the bottom line is, no matter the estimate, it’s a lot of homes that we’re undersupplied.” There is no doubt, he says, that additional homes are needed to make housing more affordable, whether it’s for rent or purchase.
No need to try to persuade Andrea Iaroc. She has worked for nonprofit art institutions for many years and has resided in Seattle, where the cost of a home has always been high. “It was just too much for me,” she says.
“I thought, ‘OK, let me see what it looks like over here.'” She went to Los Angeles in 2019. Despite this, she was unable to purchase a house. Iaroc has ties to the Colombian culture through his distant family. As a result, she’s considering making a move and working remotely as a museum consultant in the U.S.
“I have some of my friends who are digital nomads, and they’ve done that,” she says. “That used to be maybe Plan B, and now it’s become Plan A.”
Several States and Cities are changing:
“I see firsthnd the building political will mounting to take on and tackle this challenge,” says Up for Growth’s Kingsella. This refers to the new regulations in California, Oregon and Maine, which enable the construction of more than one dwelling per parcel of land—for example, an in-law apartment over a garage or an out-of-the-way cottage in a backyard. Kingsella anticipates that additional states will follow suit in the years to come to increase the number of rental apartments.
Drive until you meet the qualifications:
These zoning amendments are still being voted down in other regions like Atlanta.
Danielle and Colin Lloyd followed a similar strategy to many Americans before them to find a home within their budget. ” Drive until you qualify” is a common name for this strategy. Walnut Grove, Georgia, is where they recently purchased their new home.
“I told somebody at church, and she was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, you all moved to Egypt — you’re so far out!'” says Danielle.
It’s roughly an hour from Atlanta, where they formerly lived and worked. They’re not too concerned about the commute because they can both work from home most of the time.
They’ve just been here a few weeks now. Furthermore, according to the census, they are concerned about moving from a metropolitan area to a rural area where most people are white. As a result, there is some tension.
“Moving to country Georgia where there’s an ammo shop down the street, it’s like a constant in your face,” Danielle says.
However, the neighbors appear to be friendly to the couple. There are also more families with children in the area, so they’re upbeat.
“I love the idea of like when the kids are a little older saying, ‘Yeah, go play at your friend’s house.'” Danielle imagines what it will be like watching them run over to the neighbor’s house: “I can see them, like, at the corner, you know. ‘I’ll watch you ride over there,'” she says. “I love that.”