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The affordable housing shortage: considering the problem, causes and solutions

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  • Ron Feldman
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    Abstract

    Many observers claim that we are in the midst of an “affordable housing shortage” or, even worse, an “affordable housing crisis.” The primary concern is that too many households live in “unaffordable” rental units. We hope to clarify the current debate by first measuring the size of the problem, then diagnosing its underlying causes and, finally, discussing treatments that policymakers should consider. While our review is hardly exhaustive, we conclude that a shortage of income is largely behind the housing affordability problem despite the current focus on housing. Policymakers should recognize that government financing of new housing units is unlikely to be a cost-effective response to low household income.

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    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/region/02-09/housing.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Banking and Policy Studies with number 2-02.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmbp:2-02

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    Keywords: Finance; Public ; Housing ; Housing - Prices ; Housing - Finance;

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    1. Edgar O. Olsen, 2001. "Housing Programs for Low-Income Households," NBER Working Papers 8208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James A. Orr & Richard W. Peach, 1999. "Housing outcomes: an assessment of long-term trends," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 51-61.
    3. Stephen Malpezzi & Richard K. Green, 1995. "What’s Happened to the Bottom of the Housing Market?," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 95-16, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.
    4. Susin, Scott, 2002. "Rent vouchers and the price of low-income housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 109-152, January.
    5. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2002. "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability," NBER Working Papers 8835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
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