The highest-ranked states in CNBC's annual Top States for Business are dominated by places that build housing to accommodate new workers and their growing families. Conversely, an overriding reason some states fail to rank in the top tier despite many other positive attributes is their unwillingness to add enough housing. Perhaps these states have been taken hostage by the "NIMBYS."
NIMBY is short for "Not In My Backyard!" It has become synonymous with zoning strategies in many of the most desirable communities in the United States. The playbook for neighborhood associations in these districts has remained relatively simple over the years: Restrict construction of any kind (but particularly high-density housing construction) in an effort to keep congestion down and local schools' test scores high.
But policies that prevent new housing construction force residents to compete aggressively for a limited supply of homes. This has come at a heavy cost in places such as San Francisco County, where average monthly rents for a market-rate, three-bedroom apartment have soared to $4,613 today according to CoStar, a commercial real estate information and marketing provider based in Washington, D.C. Over the past 10 years, the number of working-age residents has grown at 40 times the rate of the population of children under the age of five.
Members of the largest generation in American history (those born in the late 1980s and early '90s) are fast approaching their 30s, the point in life when families are growing and access to spacious, budget-friendly housing takes priority. As these young people's families grow, their housing needs will change, and access to reasonably priced housing will become even more important.