The Middle-Class Housing Plan

December 11, 2023


  • North Carolina’s housing crisis is fundamentally about too little housing being built
  • The Middle-Class Housing Plan for North Carolina is a strategy to increase the state’s housing supply
  • It’s time for the state to act


The cost of housing is the single largest driver of the rising cost of living. As we’ve written about before, our current housing crisis is fundamentally a matter of too little supply meeting rising demand. When housing slips further out of reach for more and more people – particularly young people looking to get ahead in life, start families, or move seek out new opportunities – it feeds not only economic dislocation, but despair.

Today, Carolina Forward is releasing The Middle-Class Housing Plan for North Carolina: a policy brief focused on a new strategy for permanently increasing the supply of lower-cost housing in our state.

The Middle-Class Housing Plan is focused on one central challenge: how to safeguard a viable financial model for builders to create housing that people can afford. Currently, a combination of high interest rates and highly restrictive local permitting rules make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to build lower-cost housing. Moreover, the system has constant upward price pressure built into its financing mechanism.

This plan would protect a financing mechanism for building housing at extremely low cost to the taxpayer, and with minimal state involvement. It is modeled on the highly successful Small Business Administration loan program, which provides concessionary loans to new entrepreneurs.

We’ve yet to see any meaningful pro-housing action by the current state legislature. Even modest prior legislation has stalled for lack of support. This lack of action at the state level, like so much else, pushes the crisis to local governments, which do not have the authority or scope to act on the issue at scale. Though local leaders could be doing much more on housing, large-scale reform must come from the legislature. We’re still waiting for more than rhetoric.

In The Road to Home, our earlier policy paper on housing, we outlined numerous policy proposals that state lawmakers could take to address the housing crisis issue from many sides. Those focused on more comprehensive state-level pro-housing reforms may find many other ideas there.

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PO Box 452, Carrboro, NC 27510

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