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Bill to Reduce Barriers to Housing Passes House of Representatives

The bill is an important step in NAA's legislative agenda to address the housing affordability crisis.

The House of Representatives passed legislation this week supported by the National Apartment Association (NAA) that would reduce barriers to housing production. The bipartisan Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act, H.R. 4351, overwhelmingly passed the House on Monday, March, 2, and is an important step in NAA's legislative effort to address the housing affordability crisis.

One of the best ways to address the nation's affordability challenges is to improve availability of housing through increased production of units where they are most needed. Unfortunately, significant barriers exist to increasing supply.

The YIMBY Act encourages communities to eliminate discriminatory land use policies and remove barriers that prevent the production of needed housing throughout the United States. It gives the federal government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a constructive role to play in solving the housing shortage and affordability crisis.

The bill would require Community Development Block Grant recipients to report periodically on the extent to which they are removing discriminatory land use policies and implementing inclusive and affordable housing.

NAA has been a vocal supporter of the legislation, working with Congressmen Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.), the bill's chief sponsors, to move the legislation forward. "House passage of the YIMBY bill is an important legislative win for our industry and our efforts to reduce barriers to housing. The bill's broad support shows what can be accomplished when our industry works with policymakers to constructively address the housing affordability issue," said Jason Lynn, Director, Federal Legislative Affairs at NAA. "We'll now turn our attention to moving the bill through the Senate and getting it signed into law."

The Senate version of the bill, S. 1919, is sponsored by Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). NAA members attending Advocate in Washington, D.C. next week will be urging their senators to pass the YIMBY bill.

NAA conducted a national survey of government entities and private developers and owners covering 241 metropolitan markets to better understand factors that affect the new supply of apartments. The survey, "U.S. Barriers to Apartment Construction Index," measured development complexity, including the impact of community involvement, construction costs, infrastructure, growth restrictions, land supply, environmental restrictions, approval processes and political complexity, and time to develop a new property, among other factors.

The survey found that, in addition to the importance of land availability, input from local citizens significantly influences development. Additionally, rising land and labor costs are inhibiting the production of affordable housing while complex approval systems are correlated to affordability issues.