Giving Compass' Take:

• Jenny Schuetz at Brookings analyzes local variations in housing affordability and related stresses for 10 metro areas in America's heartland.

• Sharing data, experiences, and outcomes among local governments will be essential to achieving smart zoning reforms. How can donors and policymakers collaborate to achieve this?

Here are 7 principles for solving America's housing crisis. 


National conversations about housing affordability focus mostly on rising prices and too little new housing in hot markets and so-called superstar cities. While media reports abound of housing crises in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, metropolitan areas between the coasts—and south of Washington, D.C.—are often overlooked. Yet housing affordability and related measures of stress can exist in markets where housing values are moderate by national standards and plenty of houses sit empty. Families earning very little income will have difficulty paying the rent on a decent quality home in a safe neighborhood in any metro, while still having enough remaining cash to pay for food, transportation, and other necessities.

In this article, I examine three measures of housing stress among low- and moderate-income households: housing costs as a share of income, housing age, and commute times. For each measure, I compare poor and lower-middle-income households (defined here as the lowest two income quintiles within a metro area) to affluent households (the two highest income quintiles in that metro).

Read the full article about housing affordability by Jenny Schuetz at Brookings.