Biden and Trump Differ on Lowering Home Prices and Rents

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Biden and Trump Differ on Lowering Home Prices and Rents

The economy is expected to take center stage at this week’s first presidential debate, with former President Donald Trump promising to target President Joe Biden specifically on the issue of inflation. Trump has also criticized Biden for not doing enough to control housing costs.

Since taking office, Biden has implemented various policies to promote affordable home construction and preservation, ease regulations that restrict home building, and provide subsidies for homeownership and renting. In contrast, Trump, during his presidency, proposed significant cuts to federal housing assistance for the neediest households, rolled back certain fair housing policies, and encouraged states and cities to pursue zoning reforms, a goal also supported by progressives.

Bipartisan efforts have been made at the federal level to address the housing crisis. Generally, Republicans prefer state and local control over housing policy, while Democrats favor federal subsidies and intervention. Lawmakers across the political spectrum acknowledge the country’s housing crisis, marked by a 47% rise in home prices since the pandemic, mortgage interest rates around 7%, and over half of renters spending more than 30% of their income on housing, according to a recent Harvard report.

Biden’s Housing Policies:

President Biden has advocated for more federal involvement in housing policy, including the “Housing Supply Action” plan, which leverages federal grants and loans to encourage states and cities to loosen land use regulations and boost affordable housing supply. His fiscal year 2025 budget proposal includes $258 billion for housing initiatives, such as tax credits for first-time homebuyers and expansions of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and housing choice vouchers for renters.

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Biden has also discussed housing policies in his State of the Union address and on the campaign trail. Recently, Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced $85 million in funding for 21 cities to subsidize affordable housing development and supportive infrastructure.

Trump’s Housing Policies:

As president, Trump did not pursue many policies directly aimed at making housing more affordable. His proposed budgets included significant cuts to federal housing subsidies and community development aid. He rolled back certain fair housing protections and created “Opportunity Zones” to incentivize business investment in low-income neighborhoods, though the program had little impact on affordable housing.

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Trump has not frequently addressed housing policy on the campaign trail but has criticized Biden’s efforts. He has proposed building up to 10 new American cities on federal land to give families “a new shot at homeownership” and has promised to crack down on urban camping and immigration, which he claims would relieve pressure on the housing market.

As the debate approaches, housing costs remain a major concern for Americans, with a recent Gallup poll showing that housing costs are the second-most pressing financial issue for US adults. The concern is bipartisan, with 83% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans viewing the lack of affordable homes as a significant problem.

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