The North Carolina Forward Party believes secure, accessible, and affordable housing is for all North Carolinians and essential for the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Currently, North Carolina is facing a housing shortage which has led to increasing prices. Economic prosperity in the state has driven much of the increase due to the demand for housing from a growing population. However, our markets have struggled to meet demand due to scarcity in the supply of homes and rental units. As a consequence, low housing inventory in North Carolina has made it so affordable housing is difficult to obtain. While advocating for an increase in housing is straightforward enough, addressing the factors that lead to unaffordable housing is a multivariate problem. The North Carolina Forward Party has identified several factors driving the lack of affordable housing: zoning laws, building materials, mortgage requirements and inflation impact, and foreign real estate investment.
The state must reduce the artificial barriers imposed by overregulating the housing market, particularly exclusionary zoning. Restrictive and exclusionary zoning limits the type and number of housings that can be built. These regulations include prohibiting multifamily housing, setting minimum lot sizes, parking requirements, mandating setbacks, and limiting the height of houses. The North Carolina Forward Party will work to reduce unnecessary exclusionary zoning laws.
Building material costs rose 31.3% from early 2020 to early 2022, which is largely due to supply constraints from economic shutdowns in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Moreover, for the 12 months ended in November, the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand for food, energy, and trade services increased 4.9%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The North Carolina Forward Party wants to work with local suppliers of raw material to ensure they are as efficient as possible to reduce lead time and cost being remitted to consumers.
Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 tightened the grip on the mortgage world, which in turn tightened opportunities for Americans to get a loan to purchase a home. Regulatory guidelines have created a significant bottleneck for everyday hardworking Americans to get a mortgage. Additionally, wage stagnation relative to rising inflation has priced out many potential primary residence homebuyers. According to a 2022 Redfin report, a homebuyer must earn $107,281 to afford the $2,682 monthly mortgage payment on the typical U.S. home. This has been the result of rising interest rates to cool inflation. The North Carolina Forward Party wants to work with local banks to establish inflation impact prevention measures to allow for potential homebuyers to have more favorable debt-to-income benchmarks when attempting to get a mortgage.
The North Carolina Forward Party certainly welcomes foreign investors participating in our economy and contributing to the prosperity of North Carolina. However, we must ensure that a balance is maintained. In 2021, foreign buyers spent $59 billion to purchase 98,600 existing homes in the U.S. of which 4% was in North Carolina. This can certainly impact our initiative to make housing accessible and affordable. The North Carolina Forward Party intends to monitor foreign real estate investments to ensure investment activity does not produce a net loss for North Carolinians.