MBA Datanote Explores Gaps in Affordability of Multifamily Rental Housing

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Ali Ahmad
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 19, 2015) - The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released a research datanote entitled "Mind the Gap: A High-level Review of the Need for - and Supply of - Affordable Multifamily Housing." The paper focuses on multifamily rental housing because of the central role that sector plays in providing affordable housing.

"There is a significant gap between the need for and the supply of affordable housing in the United States," according to Jamie Woodwell, MBA's Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research. "The United States has a long history of housing needs, and a long history of successful programs designed to address those needs.  Even with these programs, however, millions of American households face housing burdens because of low incomes, housing market mismatches and/or specialty housing needs that are not naturally met by the housing markets."

The paper explores a variety of different mismatches between incomes and housing costs. Most of these can be clustered into three broad categories:

  • The housing needs of low and very low income households, whose incomes are not enough to cover the costs of building and maintaining safe and decent housing.
  • The need for moderate income "workforce housing," and the struggle to supply adequate affordable housing near job centers.
  • The housing needs of special populations, whose particular housing requirements are not naturally met in full by the market. These include seniors, veterans, disabled Americans, people living with AIDS, and others.

The paper also provides a high-level review of efforts to "close the gap" undertaken by multiple federal agencies and other institutions to address and correct housing market mismatches. The Datanote can be downloaded in full here.