Real Estate

Developers are turning to master-planned communities to solve the housing affordability crisis

How to make the suburbs more affordable
Key Points
  • The United States hit a record low housing supply in 2022, according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • Builders expect housing affordability to worsen as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
  • Master-planned communities and mixed-use districts have attracted investors flush with cash seeking to profit by shoring up supply.

In this article

Americans who are short on cash to make rent may need to face an uncomfortable reality: Conditions will likely get worse before they get better.

U.S. housing supply fell to the lowest levels observed in over 20 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's dramatically pushing up prices for consumers, and catching the attention of leaders.

"The most immediate challenge is a lack of lumber and other kinds of building materials," says Rob Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. "The other challenge, and it's one that's going to be with us for some time, is a lack of skilled labor."

Architects say better planning could ease cost burdens while shoring up public health.

"Suburban retrofitting has the potential to transform people's lives," said June Williamson, chair of the school of architecture at the City College of New York.

The Mosaic District of Fairfax, Virginia, is among the many "retrofitted" mixed-use districts and master-planned communities that have attracted major developers to the concept.

Watch the video above to learn more about the real estate industry's push to shore up the housing supply.

Correction: June Williamson is the chair of the school of architecture at the City College of New York. A previous version of this story and of the accompanying video misstated her title.

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