Americans Support Zoning Changes To Allow More Housing, Survey Finds

Key Takeaways:

– A survey of over 5,000 people found broad support for zoning changes that would allow for more affordable housing.
– The changes supported by the public present opportunities for investors to build more housing.
– The majority of respondents supported rules that would allow single-family homeowners to create rentable apartments within their homes.
– There is also support for rules that would allow property owners to add detached small homes on their properties.
– Respondents also support allowing small multifamily housing on residential lots, known as “missing middle housing”.
– Building multifamily housing closer to transit, known as transit-oriented development, was widely supported.
– Mixed-use housing, which combines residential and commercial spaces, was also supported by the majority of respondents.
– Americans are divided when it comes to requiring less land per home and moving houses closer together.

inman:

From backyard cottages to duplexes and more mixed-use buildings, a survey of over 5,000 people found them broadly supportive of widespread zoning changes

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Americans are broadly supportive of an array of zoning changes that have been shown to allow for more affordable housing, according to a new study from Pew Charitable Trusts.

In a survey that included responses from more than 5,000 people, Pew found that people are on board with policy changes in cities and suburbs that would lead to more apartments being built. They also want municipalities to act faster in making permit decisions, the study found.

The kinds of changes supported by the public, if implemented, present opportunities for investors who would generally have more opportunities to build housing.

“Support for most of the housing policies transcended the usual fault lines of political party, region, race, income, and gender,” the Pew researchers wrote. “The eight most popular proposals received clear majority support from Republicans, Democrats, and independents. In addition, 9 of the 10 tested measures received majority support from both renters and homeowners.”

Seventy-three percent of adults told Pew they supported rules that allow single-family homeowners to create accessory dwelling units, or rentable apartments, within their homes. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they “strongly” supported such a change, and just 8 percent said they strongly opposed it.

Seventy-two percent said they supported rules that allow property owners to add detached ADUs, or small homes that are either standalone structures or those that are built above or within a garage. Twenty-nine percent said they strongly supported the idea, and 9 percent said they strongly opposed it.

Respondents also like the idea of cities allowing small multifamily housing on any residential lot, a type of zoning change that can increase density and affordability. The concept is known as “missing middle housing” both because the scale of buildings blend in with single-family neighborhoods and because cities have made them illegal through zoning changes over time.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they either strongly or somewhat supported allowing missing middle housing on more lots, and 40 percent were either strongly or somewhat opposed.

Building multifamily housing closer to transit like train stations, bus stops or near major job centers — a type of construction known as transit-oriented development or TOD — was widely supported. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they were in favor of TODs. 

Beginning in the early 20th century, cities began to separate different uses from each other, primarily as a way to keep industrial pollution away from residential areas. That often led to homes being separated from shops and restaurants and often inhibited walkable neighborhoods.

People seem to like mixed-use housing, with 75 percent of respondents saying they supported cities allowing more apartments built in areas that also allow offices, stores and restaurants.

Pew found that Americans are much more divided when it comes to moving houses closer together by requiring less land per home.

Fifty percent of respondents to the survey said they opposed such a change, with 30 percent saying they strongly opposed it.

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Property Chomp's Take:

Have you ever wondered why it's so difficult to find affordable housing in cities and suburbs? Well, a recent survey conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts might shed some light on the issue. The study, which gathered responses from over 5,000 people, revealed that Americans are broadly supportive of zoning changes that would allow for more affordable housing options.

One of the key findings of the survey was that people are in favor of policy changes that would lead to the construction of more apartments. This includes support for rules that would allow single-family homeowners to create accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within their homes. ADUs are rentable apartments that can help increase housing options without significantly altering the neighborhood. In fact, 73 percent of adults surveyed expressed support for this change.

Additionally, respondents showed support for rules that would allow property owners to add detached ADUs, such as small homes or structures built above garages. This type of zoning change can provide more housing options without drastically altering the character of the neighborhood. Seventy-two percent of respondents expressed support for this idea.

The survey also found that people are in favor of allowing small multifamily housing on any residential lot. This type of zoning change, known as "missing middle housing," can increase density and affordability in neighborhoods. Fifty-eight percent of respondents supported this change, while 40 percent were opposed.

Another popular idea among respondents was the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD). This involves building multifamily housing closer to transit hubs, such as train stations or bus stops, to encourage the use of public transportation. Eighty-one percent of respondents expressed support for TODs.

Interestingly, the survey found that support for these housing policies transcended political party, region, race, income, and gender. Both Republicans and Democrats, as well as renters and homeowners, showed majority support for the proposed changes. This suggests that there is a broad consensus among Americans that more needs to be done to address the affordable housing crisis.

However, the survey did find some areas of disagreement. For example, respondents were divided when it came to the idea of requiring less land per home, which would lead to houses being built closer together. Fifty percent of respondents opposed this change, with 30 percent strongly opposing it.

Overall, the survey results indicate that Americans are open to zoning changes that would allow for more affordable housing options. This presents opportunities for investors and developers to meet the growing demand for housing while also addressing the affordability crisis. By listening to the needs and preferences of the public, we can work towards creating more inclusive and sustainable communities.

So, next time you're struggling to find affordable housing, remember that there is hope for change. With widespread support for zoning changes, we can create a future where everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.

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