Most Want New Housing Built – But Not Near Them
New-construction attitudes are bipartisan. Most Americans say the nation needs to build more apartments but less than 20% think it’s okay in their neighborhood.
SEATTLE – Nearly four of every five (78%) respondents to a recent housing survey support policies that promote building more housing, according to a report by Qualtrics for Redfin. But just one-third (32%) of the pro-building group has positive feelings about a new apartment complex built in their neighborhood – and 20% of them would feel negative about it. Nearly half (48%) would feel neutral.
Broken down by homeowners versus renters:
- 74% of owners support policies that promote building more housing compared with 80% of renters
- 25% of owners would feel positive about a new apartment complex built in their neighborhood, about on par with 28% of renters
- 40% owners would feel negative about a new apartment complex built in their neighborhood compared to 24% of renters
- 35% of owners feel neutral about a new nearby apartment complex compared to 24% of renters, almost half of which (49%) would feel neutral
The U.S. had an estimated housing shortfall of 3.8 million units as of 2021, and both buying and renting a home is more expensive in 2023 than it’s ever been. Building more housing would narrow the gap between supply and demand. Policies that promote building include loosening zoning restrictions, allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and enacting tax incentives that would encourage developers to build.
“Personal preferences for things like a quiet neighborhood or old-fashioned charm are often at odds with building new housing,” says Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Even though so many Americans believe in building new dense housing in theory, that ideology isn’t strong enough to outweigh their own desires – especially when they don’t stand to directly benefit from the building. That’s why it’s so difficult to overcome community opposition to dense new housing, even during a time when so many Americans believe in the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) movement.”
‘More housing’ a bipartisan political issue
Broken down by political affiliation, the majority of both Democrats and Republicans support policies that promote building more housing. But only a minority of both Democrats and Republicans would feel positive about a new apartment complex built in their neighborhood:
- 83% of respondents who identify as Democrats are pro-building, compared with 75% of Republicans
- 34% of Democrats would feel positive about a large new apartment complex built in their neighborhood compared with 24% of Republicans
- 23% of Democrats would feel negative about a large complex built in their neighborhood, versus 37% of Republicans
- 43% of Democrats and 40% of Republicans (40%) would feel neutral about a new nearby apartment complex
“There are YIMBYs and NIMBYs on both sides of the aisle,” Fairweather says. “That’s part of the reason it’s so difficult to push through policies that promote dense housing. But all types of building ultimately help with housing supply and affordability, even building more single-family homes. The more homes that exist, the more likely it is a person can find one to fit their needs and their budget.”
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