Key Highlights

  • Part II of multi-part series focuses on housing availability and affordability in Emerging Trends in Real Estate
  • Housing availability and affordability crisis throughout the US 

ULI and PwC – Affordable Housing Crisis Likely to Explode without Intervention

Significant Ramp-Up in Federal, State and Local Housing Programs Needed

Underfunding and lack of attention have created a hosing crisis throughout the US.  Availability and affordability issues are obvious in gateway markets.  Similar problems exist in most markets, according to the 42ndedition of the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report researched and published by the Urban Land Institute and PwC.

Wages for low- and moderate-income renters continue to lag behind US averages.  Additionally, recent and new supplies of renter units have targeted high-income “renter by choice” households.

Lack of Affordable and Available Rental Units for Low- and Moderate income Renters

The ongoing lack of affordable and available rental units in the US has too long a history.  Negative effects of relatively high cost, inferior housing are apparent throughout the country…worse health, decreased life expectancy, inferior education and even lower incomes for already low- and moderate-income households.

Additionally, such housing disparities also include racial disparities. According to the ULI and PwC, 31% of Black renter households are “severely burdened” by housing costs that exceed 50% of income compared with 21% of White renter households.

Landlords and Owners of Low-Moderately Priced Rental Units Also at Risk


So far, landlords and owners of low-and moderate- priced rental units, often “mom and pop” owners with less borrowing power to cover missed payments during the pandemic, have been able to collect rents due to CARE Act relief programs.

But what happens when eviction moratoria and multiple CARE Act relief programs finally do expire?  Some housing experts are concerned that many of these landlords and owners of “affordable” rental properties may not be able to collect enough rent to pay their mortgages and housing costs.  Others are concerned that lenders may foreclose on small-scale owners.

One such not-for-profit housing developer said, “I do see (a) tsunami of rental evictions on its way.”  Couple a potential tsunami with an even further decline in the number of available affordable rental units.

Only Federal Government Can Address this Issue

COVID accelerated significant tax revenue losses for state and local governments.  Only the federal government has the resources to address this problem.

The ULI and PwC encourage the federal government, via this report, to expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Section 8 Voucher programs immediately.  Over the longer term, housing experts are pushing for inclusionary zoning regulations across the country, rather than NIMBY-ism regulations, and less red tape to bring down building costs for additional affordable housing.

Public-private partnerships to convert empty office spaces to affordable housing units could also be helpful.

Long overdue solutions to housing inequities and affordability are needed.  Are the ULI and PwC optimistic about developing both short- and long-term solutions to this country’s housing affordability crisis?  Not particularly.


Thanks to PwC and the Urban Land Institute. 

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