The Real Deal National

Trump admin wants to spur affordable housing by easing local building restrictions

The council will first conduct a study on the effect regulations have on the housing market and the economy
June 26, 2019 09:25AM

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson and President Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson and President Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

President Donald Trump wants to give a boost to affordable housing development by easing or nixing restrictive construction rules at the local government level.

The president on Tuesday signed an executive order creating the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing Development, the Wall Street Journal reported. The council will also look at ways to enact a possible roll-back of federal housing regulations that stifle housing development.

“These are things that can be solved,” Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told WSJ. “A lot of [these rules] have been on the books for excessive amounts of time. They’re not particularly relevant anymore.”

A Harvard study released Tuesday found that housing construction is not keeping apace with population growth and an aging housing supply. A 260,000-home deficit in 2018 is driving up prices, with the median home price to median household income rising to 4.1 in 2018, according to the report.

For the last five decades local zoning and land-use regulations have grown, particularly in expensive cities and Northeast and California suburbs. Residents and advocacy groups have supported such measures, including requirements that developers address issues regarding road, school and sewer capacity.

The council will first conduct a study to understand the effect of regulations on the housing market and the economy.

Carson will chair the council, which will have members from eight federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, the Labor Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department.

As HUD secretary, Carson has had a strong focus on spurring private sector housing development. But critics say in doing so he’s neglecting his obligation to the Fair Housing Act. [WSJ] — Georgia Kromrei