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Freddie Mac: Population Growth Seesaws With Affordable Housing

Jun 26, 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images/kasezo

The nation’s 10 fasting-growing metro areas saw a dramatic decline in affordable housing units between 2010 and 2017, according to the study “Diminishing Affordability–Inescapable” published by Freddie Mac.
The 10 fastest-growing metro areas experienced a population growth of more than 15 percent in the years studied by Freddie Mac, but these areas simultaneously saw the number of housing units affordable to very low-income residents plummet by more than one-third. The report detailed the housing environment in Austin, the metro area that saw the greatest population boom in the period studied by Freddie Mac. While the Texas capital saw its population increase by 22.5 percent, the share of multifamily rental units affordable by its very low-income households dropped from 66 percent in 2010 to 31.9 percent in 2017, which is seven percentage points lower than the national average.
“Cities that have experienced aggressive population growth have struggled to build enough rental housing to meet the increased demand,” said Steve Guggenmos, who leads Freddie Mac Multifamily’s research and modeling team. “The problem continues to get worse, and every year more very low-income families are forced to spend more of their income on housing. That’s especially true where population growth is rapid. The old laws of supply and demand are showing their teeth and the people who can least afford it are getting bit.”
The new report is being released a day after President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the “White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.” The new Council, which encompasses eight federal agencies, is tasked with identifying strategies to reduce the regulatory burden on the development of affordable housing developments, with a deadline of presenting its findings in January 2021.

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