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President Trump Establishes Council on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing

  • June 28, 2019

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday creating a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.  ( White House Executive Order , June 25).

  President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday creating a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.   White House video  of the signing, June 25)  

  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson will chair the council, which will engage State, local, and tribal leaders to identify and remove obstacles that impede economic growth and the development of new affordable housing. (  White House video  of the signing, June 25)  
  • Carson told The Wall Street Journal this week, "These are things that can be solved. A lot of [these rules] have been on the books for excessive amounts of time. They're not particularly relevant any more." 
  • The council will include members from across eight Federal agencies who will analyze how Federal, State, and local regulations impact the costs of developing affordable housing and the economy.  It will also recommend ways to reduce regulatory burdens at all levels of government that hinder affordable housing development. (White House Fact Sheet, June 25)

According to the White House:  

  • Regulations are creating excessive costs that are holding back the development of needed affordable housing. 
  • Many of the markets with the most severe shortages in affordable housing have the most restrictive State and local regulatory barriers to development.
  • More than 25% of the cost of a new home is the direct result of Federal, State, and local regulations, with the price tag even reaching up to 42% for some new multifamily construction.
  • High housing prices are a primary determinant of homelessness, and research has directly linked more stringent housing market regulation to higher homelessness rates.  
  • State and local law barriers identified in Trump's Executive Order – that will be assessed by the Cabinet-level council – include overly restrictive zoning and environmental laws, rent regulations, excessive energy and water efficiency mandates, impediments to higher-density projects, time-consuming permit procedures, complex labor requirements, and inordinate development impact fees. 
  • "These regulatory barriers … are the leading factor in the growth of housing prices" and "drive down the supply of affordable housing" in markets across the United States, the Executive Order states.  

The Real Estate Roundtable's policy agenda likewise encourages government programs designed to increase the nation's stock of affordable, low-income and market-rate housing, as opposed to rent control and other measures that constrict residential supplies.  (Roundtable Weekly, June 21)