Survey: Municipal Leaders Want to Boost Housing Unit Supply
The Boston University Initiative on Cities recently announced the results of its 2018 Menino Survey of Mayors, a nationally representative survey of mayoral thoughts and challenges on today’s top issues. According to the survey, which is based on interviews with a representative sample of 110 mayors from 37 states, municipal leaders believe that insufficient living-wage jobs (32 percent) and high housing costs (27 percent) are the top two obstacles to achieving social mobility for residents.
The survey indicates that while mayors want to increase the amount of housing in their cities, their desired increases are relatively modest. They hope that a majority of these new units would be owner occupied and that nearly one-third would be single-family homes.
Other survey findings include:
- Half of the mayors indicate that they want less than a 10 percent increase in the number of housing units in their cities over the next 10 years. Just under a quarter favor a 10 to 20 percent increase in their housing stock, and just over a quarter want more aggressive (20%+) growth.
- Mayors preferred that the majority (58 percent) of these potential new units be owner occupied, with the remainder as rentals. On average, mayors said that “ideally” 30 percent of new housing would be single-family homes and preferred a mix of higher-density multifamily housing for the remainder of the new units.
- Approximately 55 percent of mayors agree that cities should encourage “increasing housing density in popular established neighborhoods,” while 25 percent disagreed.
- Nearly two-thirds (62%) of mayors see affordable housing as part of the city’s infrastructure.