The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced a new program designed to boost affordable housing and help the nation’s housing supply shortage.

The goal of HUD’s program is to increase the U.S. housing supply by aiding local communities in the growth and affordability of housing in their area, including rentals and homeownership. HUD’s “Our Way Home” expects to include several initiatives, like advocating for zoning changes, and holding roundtables to engage local and state officials to provide solutions.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) welcomed HUD’s announcement to combat the housing supply challenge.

“As NAR has long recognized, a collaborative approach that involves local partners is critical to building strong, thriving, and inclusive communities,” NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith said in a statement about HUD’s new initiative.

“‘Our Way Home’ promises to not only provide tools and resources necessary to address the supply shortages plaguing the country, but it will also improve vital HUD programs based on feedback gained through this effort.”

One of the largest Pandemics in history has led to a boom in housing. An estimated 80,000 homes worth $50 billion were purchased by institutional buyers in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Redfin. Moreover, families are facing tougher competition from buyers who have a lot of cash and are securing single-family homes, converting them into rental properties.

With record-high home prices and ultra-low inventories, homeownership has become increasingly difficult to achieve, NAR citing that Americans of color and first-generation home buyers are affected the most. The U.S. will likely take over a decade to resolve a housing shortfall of over 5 million units.

In efforts to circumvent disadvantages among traditional homebuyers, NAR proposes to support increased allocations to foster new home construction, expanded financing opportunities, and tax incentives for investors to convert unused commercial spaces into residential units.

“The shortage of affordable housing has been growing for decades – but this is a solvable crisis,” says HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge.

“Across the country, we are seeing many communities ending exclusionary zoning, building affordable housing in communities that previously did not allow it. We are seeing communities use innovative building models and materials, and design homes that are sustainable and resilient. And we’re seeing communities tackle homelessness by building permanent affordable housing with services. These are the types of community wins that we want to elevate with ‘Our Way Home’ and encourage others to follow.”

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