JCSU Study Says Land Use Regulations Make Charlotte Housing Less Affordable

Biddle HallA report issued last week by Johnson C. Smith University says land use regulation has a highly negative impact on housing affordability in Mecklenburg County, with every dollar spent complying with regulation adding nearly $5 to the cost of a new home or apartment unit.

The 2-year study, entitled The Economic Consequences of Land Use Regulations on Jobs, Families, Communities and Housing Affordability in Mecklenburg County, looked specifically at the impact that three Charlotte regulations had on both a single-family and multifamily development project in the city. The ordinances considered were:

The JCSU research team, led by Dr. Linette Fox and Dr. Nick Desai, used a variety of economic indices to determine the impact of these regulations on housing affordability, and came to two key conclusions:

  1. Land use regulations indeed increase the cost of housing, by as much as a factor of 5; and,
  2. Housing affordability declines during recessionary periods of high unemployment and slower job growth

Based on these conclusions, the report recommends policymakers take the following actions to ensure housing remains affordable in Charlotte:

  1. Consider all factors impacting housing affordability and not enact new land-use regulations in isolation;
  2. Identify the local regulatory regimes and incorporate them in the decision-making process;
  3. Review applicable processes as it relates to flexibility and impact on affordability on a regular basis; and
  4. Encourage housing developers and public sector housing proponents to form partnerships in the interest of building more affordable housing.

The JCSU study was funded by the Piedmont Public Policy Institute (PPPI), a 501 (c)(3) organization established to provide independent research, analytical capabilities, and education relating to economic development, the real estate and building industry, transportation, the environment, and related matters relevant to the Charlotte region.

You can download the full study here:

Economic Consequences of Land Use Regulations on Housing Affordability in Mecklenburg County



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