Biden administration incoherent on affordable housing

Democrats insist they’re committed to promoting “affordable” housing. Yet virtually every policy they propose in that regard actually makes housing more expensive.

In March, the White House issued a news release explaining, “President (Joe) Biden believes housing costs are too high, and significant investments are needed to address the large shortage of affordable homes inherited from his predecessor and that has been growing for more than a decade.”

Six weeks later, the administration unveiled new energy regulations for home construction that could add up to $30,000 to the price of a new home.

The incoherence is staggering.

The new regulations come courtesy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and apply to homes financed through Federal Housing Administration programs. The mandates — as keen observers might expect — represent another effort to strong-arm developers into making homes more energy efficient under the guise of addressing global warming.

Yet doing so comes with high upfront costs. HUD acknowledges that the rules will raise the purchase price of a single family home by more than $7,200. But the financial pain will increase drastically for the vast majority of buyers who finance their purchase over 30 years, particularly with interest rates soaring thanks to the president’s previous market interventions.

Supporters of the mandates argue that homebuyers will save in the long run thanks to more energy-efficient dwellings and that the green handouts in the Inflation Reduction Act will subsidize the transition. But the subsidies — read: taxpayer wealth transfers — cover only a portion of the costs. And saving money years down the road will be of little solace to those who might be priced out of a new home thanks to the regulations. The National Association of Home Builders estimates it would take 90 years for a buyer to recover the original costs.

It’s also worth noting that Biden’s war on fossil fuels and his bevy of new climate regulations have driven energy costs upward.

“This ill-conceived policy will also act as a deterrent to new construction at a time when the nation desperately needs to boost its housing supply to lower shelter inflation costs,” the homebuilders association argues. “Moreover, it is in direct conflict with the current energy codes in the majority of jurisdictions around the country.”

Some legislative Democrats and progressive activists claim to be champions of “affordable” housing but offer nothing more than warmed over rent-control proposals or developer mandates — both of which would make things only worse.

This isn’t rocket science.

If you’re arguing for more burdens on landlords or builders, you’re part of the problem.

Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service


Editorial cartoon by Bob Gorrell (Creators Syndicate)
Editorial cartoon by Bob Gorrell (Creators Syndicate)

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