Biden to Change Rules to Boost Affordable Housing

President Joe Biden (Getty, iStock)

With housing in short supply and affordable housing hard to find, the Biden administration aims to make technical changes to ease construction and financing for homes and rental properties.

The potential moves could be announced by the White House as soon as Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. One change: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be able to invest more into rentals thanks to a boost to a regulatory cap on apartments supported by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Another shift would expand the Community Development Financial Institutions competitive grant program, which could increase the production of affordable housing. More financing would also be made available for homes manufactured in factories, which generally cost less to build.

A third proposal would also let philanthropies and first-time home buyers buy distressed properties insured by the FHA, aiming to provide them with an advantage over investors who often buy the properties first.

Prices for buyers and renters have soared during the pandemic, leaving many first-time buyers in a lurch. The National Association of Realtors said the median price of an existing home in July was $359,900, less than $3,000 behind the record set in June.

Affordable housing can be difficult to build, but jurisdictions around the country are working on making it easier. In California, lawmakers have given initial approval to a bill allowing two-unit buildings on lots previously limited to single-family home construction to increase affordable housing.

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner

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