According to a report released in June by the National Association of Realtors in conjunction with the Rosen Consulting Group, the association is seeking a once-in-a-generation response to address decades of underinvestment and underbuilding in the housing market.

The nation has faced a shortfall of between 5.5 million and 6.8 million housing units since 2001.

The report, “Housing is Critical Infra-structure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing,” highlights the causes of housing shortages and offers potential solutions for federal and local policymakers. The report calls America’s housing stock situation “dire” — with a chronic shortage of affordable and available homes to support the nation’s population.

A severe lack of new construction and prolonged underinvestment have led to an acute shortage of available housing to the detriment of the health of the public and economy, requiring a major national commitment to build housing of all types.

The Santa Fe Association of Realtors agrees, and its board of directors in June adopted a white paper, “Growing Housing in Santa Fe,” to help identify local policies that can guide elected officials in creating more housing. In the past, the association has supported a wide range of local policies to help increase housing that included:

• Creating overlay districts that better direct growth, like the Midtown LINC.

• Innovative inclusionary zoning forbearance.

• Local low-income housing tax-credit projects.

• Multifamily, inclusionary zoning modifications.

• Rent subsidies.

• Encouraging accessory dwelling units.

• Hotel conversions for housing

To grow housing in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors® recommends:

• Strategically access federal funding for housing: If the American Jobs Act is enacted, a top priority for city and county leaders should be taking concrete steps to eliminate any needless barriers to producing affordable housing, making the region eligible for federal funding. For decades, exclusionary zoning laws — like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements and prohibitions on multifamily housing — have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities.

• Effectively utilize city- and county-owned land for housing: City- and county-owned land that can be developed for affordable housing should be strategically managed, developed or donated to local housing authorities or nonprofits to better attract low-income housing tax credits; local, federal or state funding; and private funding.

• Spur development in the Midtown LINC and midtown campus: The association encourages the city to spur redevelopment within the Midtown LINC through economic development outreach, especially to those entities who expressed interest and offered proposals as part of the RFEI process. The association urges the city to consider creating other similar Midtown LINC-type districts in other key areas of the city to better direct development or redevelopment.

• Engage the community as opportunity zone projects emerge: For this program to be a success, new developments funded by opportunity funds within the zones must be chosen thoughtfully and provide benefits not just to investors but to the community as well.

• Adopt Santa Fe city and county land-use policies to grow housing: The city and county have identified a number of proposed regulatory changes that could grow housing and should be seriously considered and acted upon. Realtors, builders, architects, contractors and do-it-yourselfers should be engaged to further improve land-use laws.

• Seek alternative ways to utilize vacant hotels, motels and other existing properties for housing: Building on the hotel and motel conversions by the city and county during the pandemic, both jurisdictions should continue to explore and act when opportunities arise to convert existing properties for the purpose of providing affordable housing to those in need

• Create a housing incubator to spur innovation: The city and county should individually or collaboratively consider creating a housing incubator to offer grants and funding in support of solutions to address the region’s growing housing needs.

To access a copy of the “Growing Housing in Santa Fe” white paper, contact the association at The National Association of Realtors’ report can be found at

Paco Arguello is chief executive of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors®. Contact him at 982-8385 or

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