Oregon zoning law changes highlight challenges confronting the US’s affordable housing problem

The lack of affordable housing is a key factor restraining a more robust recovery in residential construction. State and municipal governments are revising zoning regulations to create more affordable homes. These changes include allowing multifamily construction on lots previously zoned for single-family homes and permitting accessory dwelling units (ADUs). While these changes may improve the availability of more affordable homes, they have been met with resistance in some markets and are unlikely to solve the affordability issue single-handedly. This combined with the other headwinds facing residential construction markets – lack of labor in the construction trades, dismal productivity gains in construction, and higher financial liabilities due to student loan debt and health care costs – all point to a continued sluggish recovery in residential construction.

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