If we care about housing affordability, why do we support market-rate development?

If we care about housing affordability, why do we support market-rate development?

Simply put, Neighbors for More Neighbors—Columbus (N4MN) supports building more housing. All types of housing: public, private, subsidized, senior, supportive, condos, apartments, and more.

Over time, building more housing—especially smaller housing—will help reduce housing costs, or at least keep them from rising as quickly. Unfortunately, expanding the supply of market-rate housing is not enough to help the poorest families. N4MN understands this, but until government funding for affordable housing increases, we’re left to rely on the private market: and the private market has never adequately produced enough affordable housing in the U.S.

N4MN supports diverse housing types: public, private, subsidized, senior, supportive, condos, cooperative, inter-generational, tiny, apartments, rehabilitative, non-profit, for-profit, and more.

Research indicates that building more market-rate housing will make homes more affordable throughout a region. With each new multi-family project, a ripple effect is created. Our entire regional housing market is deeply interconnected, with people moving between neighborhoods of different income levels. And clearly, it doesn’t function perfectly. For example, landlords faced with vacancies may sit on empty units instead of lowering rents to fill them. Of course, the benefits of new housing units don’t reach everyone equally.

Building housing sets off a process called a migration chain, as people leave their homes to move into new units. When people vacate a given type of unit, it loosens the market for that type of unit, which lowers prices. Other people move into the newly vacant homes, leaving their previous units vacant, and the process repeats itself again and again.

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Until Ohio and the U.S. massively expand financing for the construction of social and public housing, we must rely on the private market to address our housing shortage. We support policies that will protect land and housing from the whims and instability of the real estate market by creating community land trusts, cooperative housing, and mutual housing on a large scale. For profit housing isn’t enough, and models that exploit renters in order to enrich wealthy land owners are inequitable.

But until those policies are in place, the simple fact is: we need more housing.