From National Organization of Women: Housing

Table of Content

A social movement in the 1800s that grew into a political movement, the Progressive Era promoted federal regulation to limit corporate greed. This period centered around solving problems society faced through the development of public education, safe workplaces, and public housing. Then, the issue ensued in the lack of technology and a plan for social welfare. While the idea of social welfare began relatively recently, housing in America’s urban centers and many other nations has become increasingly unaffordable in recent times. For national economic growth, government subsidies in housing must increase.

The economic structures that relate to the issue of affordable housing translate into a division in politics and cultural issues. For example, since Hispanics became renters at a rate greater than any other ethnic group as a result of the 2008 crash, the widespread issue with housing made the marginalization of certain ethnic groups more prevalent.

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The developers in charge of decision-making Reasonable housing are not building modest housing to suit the basic needs because they choose not to make a modest profit. Reasonable housing is older and now needs more work to maintain. As a result, landlords may spend the extra time and money to do the maintenance or sell to a developer who will build new housing with much higher costs.

Moreover, housing prices have become a political issue over the past few years, not technological. The necessary technology to make housing relatively cheap even for in-demand areas of cities was invented in the past century. But most city governments restrict developers from deploying this technology through zoning laws.

Zoning ordinances specify whether zones can be used for residential or commercial purposes, and may also regulate lot size, placement, density, and the height of structures. The issue here is called “rent-seeking behavior,” where many millions of homeowners would like to see the value of their homes increase over time, even though a house is no more than a depreciating manufactured product. One way homeowners try to push for this is by redistricting what other property-owners can do with their land, and by lobbying the city government for new laws. When the demand for housing increases and supply is restricted, the price goes up.

Housing prices are largely driven by housing as a financial commodity for investing, and near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing since the 2008 financial crisis. The low-interest rates have a double effect, they make other investments less attractive and money easier to obtain to finance housing purchases for investors. The financial crisis of 2008 created the largest disruption to the United States housing market since the Great Depression. This shift affected everyone, as the average rent check rose 22% in the 50 biggest housing markets.

Germany has developed an effective and affordable home building plan. This collective building model offered a solution to the urban affordability crisis. The German model called Baugruppe, in which groups of people form cooperatives to finance and build small developments is much cheaper than traditional developers. However, the issue with affordable housing is widespread in major U.S. cities and other modernized nations.

Works Cited

  1. Allen, Kate. “QE Feeding Europe House Price Bubble, Says Study.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 20 July 2015,
  2. Staff, Investopedia. “Zoning Ordinance.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 13 July 2018,
  3. Taylor, Timothy. “When Restrictions on House-Building Meet Growing Demand: Interview with Joseph Gyourko.” Conversable Economist, 25 Apr. 2017,

Cite this page

From National Organization of Women: Housing. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from

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