How NIMBYism Stunts Housing Growth


In addition to supply chain interruptions, high material costs and labor shortages, badly needed new home construction is also being curtailed by NIMBYism, says the National Association of Home Builders. “Not in my backyard” homeowners may not realize that by preventing development in their towns and neighborhoods that they’re making homeownership much more expensive for themselves as well as others.

The root cause of nimbyism is that homeowners are afraid that their home values will fall if they allow less expensive homes to be built in their neighborhoods. While this is common in master-planned developments that require new homes to be built using only construction and materials approved by the homeowner’s association, many communities have put their land-use regulations and restrictions in place against rental properties or smaller multi-family homes being built next to single-family homes.

Detached single-family home zoning means that builders can only build a single-family home on a given lot, which prevents more affordable multi-family homes such as duplexes, townhomes and apartments from being built. The net result is fewer available homes to rent or buy and skyrocketing prices. As land values increase, these limitations prevent workforce personnel such as fire fighters, police, paramedics, teachers and others from living in the communities they serve.  

Housing regulations and restrictions are set by individual cities and counties and some states, including Oregon and Washington, rewrote statutes to make affordable housing a protected class for fair housing.  

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