America is experiencing a housing crisis. Rents are rising while incomes are stagnant, and homeownership is becoming more and more exclusive.
According to National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the United States is short more than 6 million housing units. This housing shortage is the primary cause driving up housing costs in both the rental and homeownership markets. Combined with the disruptions COVID-19 pandemic, and inflation, rising housing costs are making it even harder for the average American to get by.
This housing crisis is hitting home for people: “A rising share of Americans say the availability of affordable housing is a major problem in their local community. In October 2021, about half of Americans (49%) said this was a major problem where they live, up 10 percentage points from early 2018. In the same 2021 survey, 70% of Americans said young adults today have a harder time buying a home than their parents’ generation did.”
Renters in particular have been struggling. “In 2020, 46% of American renters spent 30% or more of their income on housing, including 23% who spent at least 50% of their income this way.” And “Renters across the U.S. have seen the average rent rise 18% over the last five years, outpacing inflation.” This housing crisis is hurting people, and we need to address it, fast!
We simply do not have enough homes in the United States, for rental or homeownership. Introducing new housing of all kinds into the market is the best way to address these ever-rising housing costs. We need Single Family Homes, Apartments, Duplexes, Triplexes, Fourplexes, 5 over 1 and more.
Contained in that “more” are a set of housing types that do not getting enough attention. Those are Alternative Housing Types. If both private and public entities want to seriously tackle our housing crisis these Alternative Housing Types need to be a part of the solution.
Alternative housing types, like Tiny Homes, Container Homes, Modular Homes and ADUs, provide quality, sustainable housing at a lower cost. It can also be built faster, which can help to ramp up supply more quickly.
In September 2022 The Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors® (SPAAR), in partnership with Minnesota AARP and YardHomes, held an Alternative Housing Showcase, to educate Realtors®, elected officials, and the public about the benefits of these housing types. People gathered outside YardHomes in New Brighton, Minnesota, first to tour a couple Tiny Homes, then to hear from experts about the importance of these Alternative Housing Types and how they can play an important role in addressing our housing crisis.
Check out the video SPAAR did with YardHomes!
If you have any questions please reach out to SPAAR’s Government Affairs Director Simon Opatz.