White House Stresses Local Action on Housing Supply

February 8, 2022 |

Updated February 8, 2022

2 minute read

The Administration seeks to expand development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Learn more.

On February 1, the White House hosted the virtual event “Making it Easier to Build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).” This webinar was one in a series focused on actions to increase housing supply, signaling redoubled federal interest in promoting effective state and local solutions to improve housing affordability. The Biden Administration, as a part of their goal to create and preserve nearly 100,000 additional affordable housing units, seeks to expanding access to the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

ADUs are attached or detached apartment-style additions to a single-family home. This housing option provides an opportunity to add affordable rental units to markets across the country, but ADU development is often impeded by restrictive zoning ordinances and permitting processes at the local level. In many American cities, it is not uncommon for detached, single-family homes to be the only permissible structure on 75 percent of the residential land. NAA research on barriers to apartment construction suggests that prohibitive land-use and zoning policies are directly correlated to high housing costs.

In the event, White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice emphasized that chronic underdevelopment has impacted rising housing costs. This meeting, Rice said, was an effort to highlight how federal, state and local actors can “overcome barriers to increasing housing supply. [Accessory dwelling units] are an important component of our push to increase the supply of affordable units,” Rice emphasized.

In addition to restrictive zoning, limited financing opportunities also pose a barrier to increasing ADU development. At the end of the event, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Sandra Thompson committed that the “FHFA will continue to explore what more Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might be able to do to support the growth of accessory dwelling units as a source of new housing supply.”

To learn more about housing affordability solutions please reach out to Ben Harrold, NAA’s Manager of Public Policy