Experts Express Pessimism Over Housing Costs

Although the current housing crisis has been compared with the housing crash of the late 2000s, experts caution that affordability issues could plague the U.S. housing market for years to come.

January 26, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Suburban Homes

KyleHohler / Shutterstock

With median home prices up by 20 percent in the last year and rents rising across the country, some believe that something has to give, soon. But experts warn that the overheated housing market we're seeing now isn't just a bubble, reports Emily Badger. While rampant price growth similar to today's preceded the 2007 housing crash, at that time, the rise in costs was experienced by less than half of U.S. cities, compared to 80 percent today.

As Badger writes, "There’s probably no quick reprieve coming, no rollback in stratospheric home prices if you can just wait a little longer to jump in." It's "about the fundamentals," says Jenny Schuetz of Brookings: "not enough houses, and huge numbers of people wanting homes." For households on the verge of homeownership before the pandemic, the explosive rise in prices may have pushed them back by years.

As housing experts and advocates have repeatedly pointed out, the imbalance between supply and demand is worsening the housing crisis, but policymakers are not taking aggressive steps to correct the problem. And even if the migration caused by remote work evens out, other factors like institutional investors are likely here to stay. "Today, first-time home buyers in once-affordable markets have competition from all kinds of sources that didn’t exist a generation ago: from global capital, from all-cash 'iBuyers' that size up homes by algorithm, from institutional investors renting single-family homes, from smaller-scale investors running Airbnbs." 

Ultimately, economists interviewed in the article express a pessimistic outlook, with most foreseeing that affordability will continue to be a major concern for American households for several years.

Thursday, January 20, 2022 in The New York Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.