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How Suburban Sprawl Is Weighing on the U.S. Economy

By NAM News Room

Restrictive zoning laws and an ultra-competitive housing market are leading to more suburban sprawl and fewer options for prospective homebuyers, according to CNBC.

Zoning laws limit housing supply: Strict zoning laws favor the construction of single-family homes, limiting the amount of land available for multifamily housing and affordable housing developments. With less land available for multifamily and affordable housing, the prices of that land have risen to a point where the projects are often unaffordable for builders.

By the numbers: In 2021, there were 1.123 million single-family housing starts, the most since 2006. The total number of houses for sale is down 28% from a year ago, and houses are selling on average 10 days faster than last year.

Economic fallout: “Today’s homebuyers are paying for past sprawl by drawing on credit to finance their lifestyles. Meanwhile, the cost of public infrastructure maintenance is weighing on depopulating towns across the country.”

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