Housing Fuels the Economy

Housing is central to American family life and critical to a thriving economy. The state of the housing industry is a good barometer of the broader economy and the condition of the nation's social fabric.

Use the map to see how your state and local area are doing in terms of new home production, housing affordability, remodeling activity, and other benchmarks.

Choose a state to learn more

Housing and the Economy

Homes are much more than mere shelter

They are at once critical to every community and an engine of economic growth.

Building 100 single-family homes generates:

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An icon depicting a stack of dollar bills

$28 M

in wages and business income

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$11 M

in taxes and revenue for state, local, and federal government

Source: NAHB analysis of government data

Current policy issues

At any given time federal regulators are working on dozens of rules that can have significant impacts on the viability and costs of housing projects around the country. This sections looks at just four of those issues – housing finance, resiliency, regulatory reform and tax policy – with an overview of the challenge and proposed solutions that could benefit small businesses and consumers alike.

Congress must reassert meaningful oversight authority over, and ultimately fix, our broken regulatory rulemaking system. Any overhaul must acknowledge the disproportionate compliance burden small businesses face.

On average, almost 25% of the cost of a typical new single-family home — close to $85,000 — is due to government regulation.

Reasonable regulations are essential to protecting health and safety. However, many regulations are imposed by unelected bureaucrats who establish laws far beyond Congress’ original intent.

What’s more, legislators often fail to see how countless layers of regulation imposed by numerous and varied agencies slow the economy, prevent families from achieving homeownership and harm small businesses.

The administration must immediately resume negotiations to craft an equitable, long term solution to the ongoing trade dispute over softwood lumber imported from Canada.

Since the beginning of 2017, rising lumber prices — exacerbated by 20 percent protectionist tariffs imposed on softwood lumber imported from Canada — have added nearly $9,000 to the price of a typical single-family home and more than $3,000 to the price of an average multifamily unit.

Roughly one third of the lumber used in the U.S. is imported from Canada because domestic producers do not have the capacity to meet demand. An equitable, long-term solution to this trade dispute will ensure that American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of softwood lumber at reasonable prices.

Such a solution will also boost housing affordability and help to ensure that housing continues to fulfill its important role in driving the nation’s economy.

Congress must ensure the mortgage interest deduction remains a meaningful homeownership incentive for middle-class households, and also that the production of affordable rental housing continues under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

Even though the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 has been signed into law, much remains unsettled in U.S. tax policy. As the measure is implemented, federal legislators will get a sense of what needs to be revised or refined.

While the new law maintains the mortgage interest deduction, it reduces the number of households that will claim the deduction. This will affect home prices, potentially harming millions of American families.

Also important are tax credit programs that encourage production of housing for low- and moderate-income households.

Measures to ensure resilience in communities, infrastructure and buildings must be practical, cost effective and based on sound science. Such efforts should be coordinated between various levels of government, communities and businesses to prevent conflicting or duplicative requirements.

An unusual number of significant natural disasters in recent years and concerns over climate change have prompted consideration of resiliency at every level of government.

Resiliency plans, policies and programs will significantly affect how and where new homes and communities are built and greatly influence how cities and existing structures are re-engineered, rebuilt and/or remodeled.

Retrofitting and improving the existing housing stock and commercial inventory should be a priority. Newer homes and businesses constructed to more updated code requirements have proven to be more resilient in recent disasters. State and local communities should have the flexibility to adopt codes that address their resiliency priorities.

Remodeling activity and production of multifamily housing have similar impacts on the local economy.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a federation of more than 700 state and local associations seving more than 140,000 members. About one-third are home builders and remodelers. The rest work in closely related fields that support the housing industry.

NAHB works hard to protect homeownership and rental housing opportunity.

Laws and Regulations Have Profound Effects on Production and Affordability Create report

Housing availability and policy in America

The ability to find a home in your area is a factor many of us take for granted. Not all have this luxury, and there are specific ways Americans would like to see the government act to remedy this.

Percent of Americans saying there is a housing shortage in their community:

  • 23%
  • 12%
  • 50%
  • 15%




Don't know

35% total

Americans Agree on Housing Policies To Help The Middle Class

Percent of Americans who agree with each of the following policies:

A pie chart showing 26 percent


Reduce regulatory hurdles to new housing production

A pie chart showing 36 percent


Provide government support of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

A pie chart showing 49 percent


Offer meaningful tax incentives that promote homeownership

A pie chart showing 23 percent


Reduce trade barriers to make building materials less expensive

A pie chart showing 22 percent


Limit federal involvement in local land use decisions

A pie chart showing 4 percent


The government should not take any actions to encourage home ownership


of Americans say it matters some or matters a lot what a candidate's positions are on housing policies that affect housing prices and availability

Homeownership in America

Homeownership is a key piece of the American Dream, and one that millions of Americans participate in each year. But for some, there are obstacles in the way to reaping the wonderful benefits associated with homeownership.

Intent to Purchase Housing


of Americans plan to purchase a home in the next year

Obstacles to Purchasing a Home

Percent of Americans that say each of the following is an obstacle to purchasing a new home:

Finding a better job

  • 22%

Getting approved for a mortgage loan

  • 24%

Having enough savings to cover the down payment

  • 31%

Finding a home with the features and size that you want

  • 21%

Finding a home at a price you can afford

  • 34%

Being able to sell your current home at the ‘right’ price

  • 14%

Finding more information about the process of purchasing a home

  • 9%

Having to pay down student / other debt first

  • 15%

Homeownership presents great benefits

Percent of Americans saying each of the following are benefits of homeownership:

A pie chart showing 28 percent


Sense of belonging to the community

A pie chart showing 27 percent


Opportunity to build wealth

A pie chart showing 51 percent


Secure place to raise a family

A pie chart showing 51 percent


Good investment

A pie chart showing 69 percent


It's a place to call my own

A pie chart showing 31 percent


It's a part of the American dream

Remodeling in America

Millions of Americans remodel their homes each year, for many different reasons. This brief exploration of those remodeling their homes gives insight into the scale, and the reasons, for trying to improve our homes.


of Americans say they definitely will, or maybe will, undertake a major remodeling project on their home over the next three years

Among those planning to remodel, Americans plan to remodel for the following reasons:

To update for modern amenities and design trends

  • 52%

To increase resale value

  • 41%

To increase rooms and square footage

  • 29%

Because I don’t want to leave my neighborhood

  • 17%

To accommodate a parent or other relative

  • 15%

Because it costs less than moving to a different home

  • 29%

Source: National poll conducted in Q4 2017 for NAHB by Morning Consult

Data is Key to Understanding and Predicting Markets Create report

The Data Tells a Story

Housing starts, new home sales and other housing benchmarks can be valuable tools in analyzing housing market dynamics and consumer behaviors, and making reliable market projections.

NAHB’s proprietary analysis tools, including the Housing Market Index and the Housing Opportunity Index, are among the industry’s most important market benchmarks.

The State of Housing


Median family income

A pie chart showing 63 percent


Home ownership rate


Number of housing units

A pie chart showing 45 percent


Minority (Hispanic or Non-White) home ownership rate


Median value of owner-occupied homes


U.S. residents working in residential construction


Median value of owner-occupied homes


U.S. residents working in residential construction

A pie chart showing 61 percent


of all U.S. homes are single-family detached

A pie chart showing 6 percent


of all U.S. homes are single-family attached

A pie chart showing 26 percent


of all U.S. homes are multifamily

A pie chart showing 6 percent


of all U.S. homes are other types of housing units

The State of Rental Housing

A pie chart showing 6 percent


Rental vacancy rate


Median gross rent

A pie chart showing 50 percent


Gross rent is less than 30% of household income

A pie chart showing 25 percent


Gross rent is 30% to 50% of household income

A pie chart showing 25 percent


Gross rent is 50%+ of household income

A pie chart showing 6 percent


Rental vacancy rate


Median gross rent

A pie chart showing 50 percent


Gross rent is less than 30% of household income

A pie chart showing 25 percent


Gross rent is 30% to 50% of household income

A pie chart showing 25 percent


Gross rent is 50%+ of household income

Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey

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