How Would a Potential Biden Presidency Affect the Housing Industry?
Now that both political parties have wrapped up their conventions, it is time to delve into the specifics of their policy plans. After the pomp and circumstance of the election season is over, Americans are going to want to know where the country is headed. While most everyone knows what to expect with an extension of the Trump White House, there is more uncertainty surrounding Joe Biden.
Here is how a Biden presidency would affect the housing industry moving forward by expanding the availability of affordable housing.
Increase Section 8 Availability
One of the cornerstone's of Biden's housing policy is his plans to increase Section 8 availability by expanding the choice voucher program. As the largest federal housing program available to low-income renters, Biden plans to make this program an entitlement. By earmarking it as an official entitlement, all eligible individuals would receive the voucher. This would hopefully eliminate the long wait times in some areas of the country. Currently, only two million households use Section 8 vouchers for their housing needs and Biden believes that this needs to be expanded.
Bring Back Fair Housing Rules
As President Barack Obama's vice president during his tenure, it is no surprise that Biden's housing policy plans to restore the Obama administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. Under this rule, municipalities that receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) must come up with concrete plans to mitigate housing discrimination in their area. The Trump administration reversed this rule last month. Biden and his team contend that the AFFH is an important cog in the process of supporting fair housing initiatives.
Expanding Housing Affordability
Part of the official plan for Biden's housing policy is the stipulation that ensures that no American spends over 30% of their total income on housing. Biden's team contends that this goal would benefit households in every income bracket, helping to boost the economy across the board. This initiative would be met by passing legislation that is similar to the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act. This act is designed to provide a refundable tax credit to households spending over 30% of their income on rent costs.
Passing Anti-discrimination Housing
The Biden housing policy recognizes that there are various racially-biased processes that inherently deny minorities and other oppressed groups affordable housing. For this reason, the Biden housing plan takes steps to mitigate these processes and stamp out practices such as unfair property appraisals. In addition, this plan will attack the practice of redlining in an attempt to help minority groups get into housing that fits their needs and income constraints. Redlining is a common discriminatory practice utilized by predatory services that put affordable and safe housing out of the reach of households in certain communities solely based on race or ethnicity.
Encourage More Housing
The crux of many of the country's housing issues stems from an overall lack of available housing. Currently, housing inventory is running nearly 20% below last year's levels at this time. According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), this shortage is most apparent on the West Coast. In a rare show of partisan agreement, both sides of the aisle agree that there should be a temporary ban on single-family zoning.
One way that Biden plans to expand housing is to earmark $65 billion to state housing officials to construct housing in low-income areas. In addition, this legislation would encourage these communities to mandate new zoning laws to support more affordable housing developments.
Opinions on Biden's Housing Plan
As is to be expected, the analysis of Biden's housing plan is split largely between party lines. Those who support the former vice president lauded the plan for its comprehensive measures. Opponents of Biden claim that he is merely throwing money at the problem and not doing anything to get to the root of the nation's systematic issues with housing and how it relates to race.
Regardless of what Biden puts on paper now, the success of the policies will depend on what party is controlling Congress should he pull out the victory on November 3.
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