Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson has a plan to cut down the bureaucratic red tape to make affordable housing more accessible.
The United States is facing an affordable housing crisis. In 2018, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index found that only 56 percent of homes sold in the U.S. were affordable for a typical family based on their income and interest rates. In 2019, it is projected that less than half of the homes purchased will be affordable.
This is a problem for several reasons. Either Americans cannot afford to buy a home or are spending beyond their means to afford their place, leaving them with less discretionary spending to put back in the economy.
To address this issue, Carson has been working with private businesses to develop more manufactured homes. These homes are built off-site for significantly less than the cost of an on-site home. While these homes could increase the supply of housing and lower the costs, current bureaucratic policies prevent manufactured homes from some areas.
During an interview with Fox Business, Carson explained how he plans to cut back the red tape preventing this affordable housing option from being more widespread.
Watch Carson’s interview below:
“The cost of this [manufactured home] is 30 to 40 percent less than a site-built home. In addition to that, these are bolted down to cement foundations and tend to tolerate tornados, hurricanes much better than site-built homes do. So you both have a cost and a resiliency issue here. These are the kinds of things that we need to be talking about.”
Carson said the main problem for manufactured homes is that they carry a stigma of being a “trailer” rather than a home — a notion that is reinforced by some zoning laws in the U.S.
The secretary plans to use HUD to adjust the zoning laws in the U.S. so that manufactured homes can become more of a staple in American housing rather than being looked down upon by both buyers and local governments:
“It requires us to remove some of the many zoning barriers that are based on outdated thinking about these things. […] Not-in-my-backyard-ism. Based on thinking about the ’60s and the ’70s and the kinds of things that the government did that were not particularly smart. they didn’t do a lot of advanced thinking. They didn’t do a lot of follow-up and support, and it really created more of a problem than it solved.”
Carson noted that these zoning changes could provide more housing in public-private partnerships rather than developing more government housing.
“We’re much more effective that way,” Carson said. “We create win-win situations.”