Unveiling the Housing Supply Accelerator Playbook

Unveiling the Housing Supply Accelerator Playbook

Housing supply and affordability rose to the top of the list of priorities for state and local REALTOR® association staff on an issues survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) late last year.

Another takeaway? It will take action at all levels – federal, state, and local – to close the widening gap of five million missing housing units throughout the country.

At the 2024 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in early May, representatives from the National League of Cities (NLC) and the American Planning Association (APA) joined the NAR State and Local Issues Policy Committee to preview the Housing Supply Accelerator Playbook days before its official launch.

“Thanks to help and robust engagement from NAR and other [housing] groups, we’ve been able to draft a playbook,” announced Mike Wallace, NLC’s Legislative Director. “Part of it is focused on process – what we recommend cities do at the planning stage. And then we go into a menu of options that seem to be the most promising approaches, giving local officials enough authority to set rules for what they want for their community and enough buy-in to make those rules a reality.”

Jason Jordan, Public Affairs Director at APA, highlighted the Playbook’s emphasis on action. “We wanted to move past diagnosis to prescriptions – what can we begin to do to move the needle on housing supply?”

Wallace and Jordan shared that the partners involved in producing the Playbook – NLC, APA, NAR, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Mortgage Bankers Association – spent a year traveling the country to examine the obstacles to increasing housing supply and identify solutions that could be replicated in localities nationwide.

What resulted was a menu of options that can be tailored by local stakeholders. “[The Playbook] is not intended to be an A-to-Z set of actions,” Jordan said. “Instead, it meets you where you are in each category that can be scaled up or scaled down.” Those categories include collaboration and partnership, construction and development, finance, and land use and regulation.

NAR has been a core partner in NLC’s Housing Supply Accelerator program for over a year, sharing NAR members’ input and expertise on housing market conditions across the country. The Playbook highlights multiple success stories from REALTOR® associations on expanding housing supply, including:

  • The East Tennessee Association of REALTORS® jumpstarted the City of Knoxville’s downtown riverfront development through a set of studies conducted by the Counselors of Real Estate Consulting Corps through the REALTOR® Party’s Transforming Neighborhoods program. The strategic initiative is designed to address the sharply increasing demand for housing while also fulfilling the city’s long-held vision of fostering a dynamic waterfront district.
  • The Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS® worked with the City of Greenville and other housing stakeholders to create Impact Greenville, a coalition focused on addressing barriers to and opportunities for missing middle housing supply. Their work led to updated land use and code regulations to support the development of new housing opportunities. The REALTOR® Party’s State and Local Growth Polling Program helped inform these efforts with insights into voter attitudes on a range of growth-related issues.
  • The Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS® partnered with the City of San Diego and other supporters of accessory dwelling unit (ADU) production to create a free digital handbook to help homeowners design and build ADUs. The handbook explained key concepts, helped residents understand renovation project financing, and provided guidance that led to increased ADU development and faster permitting. A REALTOR® Party Smart Growth Grant supported the award-winning project.

“Our members are working every day to address housing supply issues in their communities,” said Drew Myers, NAR’s State and Local Policy Representative. “NAR has been sounding the alarm on the inventory shortage and advancing solutions to make homeownership more accessible for years. We’re proud to join with NLC, APA, and other housing groups in creating this Playbook to accelerate housing inventory across the country.”

Bill McBride, Executive Director of the National Governors Association (NGA), also joined the meeting to emphasize the crucial need for state and local solutions. He recounted a recent NGA roundtable discussion in which one governor after another named housing affordability and availability as the number one issue in their state.

“The problem of housing affordability and availability is beyond bipartisan – it’s universal,” McBride said. “In my years at NGA, I’ve never heard any other issue that has come to the forefront like this one.”

Attending virtually, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte shared examples of how his state is addressing the housing supply crisis, from revising zoning laws to cutting regulation to increasing the construction workforce. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration and adopting what’s working in other areas.

“If there are good things other states are doing, there’s no pride in ownership – we’ll steal them,” Gianforte said with a smile. “We’ll take good ideas wherever we can find them.”

It’s clear that increasing housing supply will take a wide range of committed partners implementing tailored reforms in their areas that add up to meaningful, lasting change nationwide – which is exactly what the Playbook seeks to achieve.

As NLC’s Wallace noted, “We saw the need to bring together everyone working to expand housing in communities … to figure out a new, alternative approach to the status quo.”

APA’s Jordan agreed, closing his remarks by saying, “We are committed to working together to make a real difference.”

To read the Housing Supply Accelerator Playbook, click here.

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