North Carolina has a housing crisis. And it’s getting worse.
The availability of low-cost housing has been one of the most important drivers of North Carolina’s economic success over the last several decades. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic was the tipping point for a crisis in housing that has been building for a long time – and which has been mostly ignored by leaders of both parties. Across urban, suburban and rural communities today, the demand for housing has vastly outstripped supply, causing displacement, anxiety and pain.
This new report from Carolina Forward proposes several ways North Carolina’s policymakers can change course. The Road to Home: Fair and Affordable Housing for North Carolina outlines 4 key areas of policy reform to make North Carolina’s housing market meet our residents’ needs once again, and makes a powerful case for why doing so is not optional if North Carolina is to remain a leading state.
The Road to Home centers on four main policy areas:
- Zoning reform, to streamline dysfunctional local development approval processes
- Eliminating development restrictions that choke off denser housing development
- Reforming and expanding housing assistance to the less well-off
- Keeping housing markets local and protecting them from predatory investors
Housing is an issue that looms behind virtually every other that faces our society. Access to safe and secure housing has a large and very well-researched impact on a wide array of seemingly separate issues, ranging from educational attainment to life expectancy, economic growth to climate impact, and innumerable measures of social well-being. North Carolina’s housing market is being throttled by unnecessary constraints, and this has the result of holding back our state’s full potential. Both policymakers and concerned citizens everywhere owe it to themselves to imagine what a different housing regime could mean for them.