NMHC and NAA Laud Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan

by John Nelson

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) have praised the Biden administration on the release of the Housing Supply Action Plan, which aims to alleviate the housing affordability crisis and lower costs for renters. Under the plan, the administration outlined new measures that would produce more housing supply, including more affordable housing units, over the course of the next five years.

The plan includes several concepts previously proposed in the Build Back Better bill that passed in the House but stalled in the Senate.

Though the NMHC and NAA have acknowledged that there is no “single magic bullet” that can solve the nation’s housing shortage, they underlined that the current crisis is the result of decades of policy failures to address the growing shortage of housing production.

In their reaction, both associations point to research conducted by Hoyt Advisory Services that found that the U.S. will need to build an average of 328,000 apartments every year through 2030 to keep up with national demand. That mark has only been achieved five times since 1989.

The NMHC and NAA states they are particularly encouraged by specific aspects of the proposed policy. The NAA recently highlighted the elements of the plan that would have the greatest impact on the multifamily industry:

• The housing supply plan rewards jurisdictions that have reformed zoning and land-use policies with higher scores in certain federal grant processes for the first time at scale. This includes actions such as giving preference to jurisdictions that enact zoning reforms and reduce regulatory barriers to housing development for certain grants totaling roughly $6 billion, updating investment priorities to include density as a consideration and providing $10 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help jurisdictions that have already undertaken pro-housing zoning reforms.

• The Biden administration seeks to deploy new financing mechanisms to build and preserve more housing where financing gaps currently exist, including manufactured housing, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), two- to four-unit properties and smaller multifamily buildings. Additionally, the Biden administration aims to increase funding for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), increase investment in public housing and provide funding to construct and rehabilitate 10,000 HUD-assisted multifamily properties in rural America.

• The plan expands and improves existing forms of federal financing for affordable multifamily development and preservation — including making construction-to-permanent loans more widely available.

• The Biden administration seeks to ensure that the government-owned supply of homes and other housing goes to owners who will live in them — or non-profits that will rehab them — not large institutional investors.

• Team Biden aims to work with the private sector to address supply chain challenges and improve the ability to build rapidly to finish construction in 2022 with more new homes in any year since 2006. The administration also aims to meet with building industry representatives to explore ways of reducing supply chain disruptions, promote innovation in the industry such as modular construction and increase funding for construction apprenticeship programs.

Finally, the plan called on Congress to pass Biden’s Unlocking Possibilities Program (H.R. 5376, SEC. 40103), which was passed in 2021 by the House and would help to establish a new $1.75 billion grant program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program has not yet been voted on by the Senate.

According to figures released by the NMHC and NAA, over 40 million Americans call an apartment home and the multifamily industry supports over 17.5 million jobs.

— Kari Lloyd

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