Barring any late legal battles, Joe Biden will become the next president of the United States –bringing a renewed focus on his campaign promise to provide better access to affordable and quality housing.
“Everyone may not love the outcome of this long-drawn-out roller coaster of an election, but I think everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. “Biden has a really ambitious agenda that will try to create opportunities for more low- and middle-income Americans to become homeowners or afford rental housing.”
Biden’s housing plan, which he revealed back in February, looks to invest a whopping $640 billion over the next 10 years to increase housing supply and provide financial assistance to “help hard-working Americans buy or rent safe, quality housing.”
“Biden recognizes how challenging it can be for some people to become homeowners,” said Hale.
To this end, Biden has committed to providing potential homeowners with a refundable and advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000 to purchase a home. And perhaps even more ambitious, Biden wants to establish a $100 billion fund to construct and upgrade affordable housing and use tax incentives to build homes in areas experiencing supply shortages.
“It’s a return to a more typical agenda of a Democratic president by trying to build and create more affordable housing,” Edward Goetz, an urban policy professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, told realtor.com. “It’s overdue. We’re in the middle of a housing crisis and we have affordability issues all over the country.”
Ending racial discrimination in the housing market
Another issue Biden has promised to address is redlining and other discriminatory practices in the housing market – a growing problem given more attention in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
In his housing plan, the president-elect has promised to eliminate local and state housing regulations that perpetuate discrimination and establish a national standard for housing appraisals that “ensures appraisers have adequate training, a full appreciation for neighborhoods, and do not hold implicit biases because of a lack of community understanding.”
According to Hale, it’s “certainly a step in the right direction, but it’s not going to [completely] solve the problem” because buyers will ultimately determine the price of a property by how much they’re willing to pay for it.
“There’s so much already tied into the value of a property based on its location,” Hale told realtor.com.