The cost of the house is one-third of the consumer price index – the most common inflation sensor. Even before the pandemic, 1 in 7 households in the United States spent half and more of their income on housing. Housing inflation undermines families’ ability to save by pushing many homeowners and tenants to the limit of eviction and recovery – and blocking potential new home buyers from the market. In 2021 the house at an average price was unavailable by two-thirds potential first buyers in the top 100 metro areas of the country.

We cannot curb housing inflation until we correct the systemic housing shortage in our country, in particular the insufficient supply of decent and affordable homes. At the heart of this serious shortcoming lies Fr. decades of decline in construction modest homes for beginners, affecting every major region of the country and having a big impact on marginalized communities in particular.

So even if the Fed is central to Washington’s efforts to fight inflation, Congress has a chance to protect Americans from the pressures of inflationary pressure by rapidly building new affordable housing. And if lawmakers are serious about building a fairer and more sustainable economy, they should also aim to dismantle policies that for decades have prevented millions of families from gaining access to the quintessence of the American dream of home ownership.

Here are three ways Congress works:

Carry out zoning reform to increase the supply of land for development

Restrictive zoning and land use policies continue to hinder the growth of safe and affordable housing in our country. According to a national study of U.S. cities, 75 percent of residential land is prohibited for the construction of duplex houses, townhouses or anything other than individual single-family homes. We need zoning reforms from Congress that allow for the creation of outbuildings and apartment buildings, lower construction tariffs, and streamline permitting processes.

In California, recent changes to zoning laws have made it easier to build smaller ones. ”additional apartment blocks”As a result three times the number of homes available under construction in the period from 2018 to 2019. These reforms can be a real boon to the local economy by attracting workers, employers and developing new businesses. Congress should take this seriously a recently proposed feature unlock programwhich stimulates the adoption of zoning reforms to address the chronic shortage of land for the construction of affordable housing.

Establish tax breaks to encourage the construction of entry-level homes

Targeted tax inflation will also be needed to curb housing inflation, which encourages builders to rebuild and expand the supply of cheaper homes. The The law on investment in neighboring houses would do just that. Using these new tax credits, it is estimated that every $ 1 billion invested will lead to the construction or rehabilitation of 25,000 homes, more than 33,000 jobs in construction and construction-related industries, and $ 1.25 billion in federal tax revenue. state and local.

Just like Low-income housing tax credit was a critical factor in building affordable rents, these new tax credits on housing investment will help promote the preservation and restoration of affordable housing while encouraging reinvestment in troubled communities. Over time, such initiatives will not only help build intergenerational wealth in color communities that have long been deprived of home ownership, but will also promote economic growth that benefits all Americans.

Creating competitive grants for nonprofit housing

Finally, competitive grants will help experienced nonprofit builders expand the range of affordable homes for those most in need. Congress is to establish a community restoration and revitalization fund that will provide federal grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit partnerships to build low-cost homes in affluent communities. By funding such grants, Congress can make home ownership within the reach of first-time buyers, and expand access to affordable rental families trying to stabilize their housing costs and restore their savings accounts.

Expanding affordable housing in our country is critical to America’s long-term recovery from the pandemic. So we curb headline inflation, reduce systemic racial gaps in home ownership and create more equal economic opportunities for all. Families cannot build a better future for themselves if they cannot find a safe and affordable home. As one of the richest nations on earth, we can and should do better. Now is the time to seize the moment for historic change and embark on a future in which every American can afford a place they proudly call home.

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