Study: NIMBYism is Limiting New Apartments
May 13, 2019
Rents have been skyrocketing in recent years, but now a new survey of government officials, private developers, and owners say a big reason why more affordable units aren’t being added is because of not-in-my-backyard mindsets.
NIMBYism was by far the most common response when asked what were the most significant issues affecting multidevelopment in metros areas, according to a new study released by the National Apartment Association, “U.S. Barriers to Apartment Construction Index.” NIMBYism was followed by construction costs and land availability and land costs.
Albuquerque, N.M., was the city with the fewest barriers to construction of multifamily units, according to the survey, which factored in numerous barriers to development, such as NIMBYism, restrictive zoning, getting approvals, and labor and lot availability. Philadelphia, on the other hand, had the most barriers to apartment construction, the survey found.
The National Apartment Association “undertook this survey to show that barriers create higher construction costs, which in turn leads to higher rents while making it extremely difficult to build affordable housing,” says Robert Pinnegar, NAA president and CEO. “The Barriers Index shows that housing, ultimately, is a local issue requiring local government solutions. Reducing burdensome regulations and standing up to NIMBYism will allow for more construction.”
The U.S. needs 4.6 million apartments at all price points by 2030 to keep up with current demand, according to the study. Decades of underconstruction have left a “massive shortage in overall apartment housing supply,” the report notes.
A growing rental population has put pressure on rents due to the lack of units. In major markets like Denver, San Jose, Seattle, Boulder, Oakland, San Francisco, and Portland, Ore., rents have increased by more than 18% in just four years, the report notes. Nationwide, nearly 38% of U.S. rental households spend 35% or more of their incomes on rent, and 23% spend 50% or more, which by most financial analysts’ standards is considered “cost-burdened.”
Updated: January 23, 2020