Survey: Impact fees and regulations hurt affordable housing

new policy study from the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee looked at the effects of impact fees and land-use regulations on the price of houses in several southwestern Florida communities.

Based on the results, the study's authors suggest that impact fees, land-use regulations and permitting delays increase the price of houses, and they're proportionally larger for smaller houses, making homeownership difficult for lower-income working families at a time when housing affordability is a major concern.

"Florida is on the verge of another housing affordability crisis, and local regulations are playing an important role in making the problem worse," says Sam Staley, Ph.D., director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University (FSU). "Our research strongly suggests that workforce housing is being squeezed out by lengthy permitting delays and unwieldy permit fees in those areas that need it most. Impact fees were created by the state to fund infrastructure, but our research shows lower-income households suffer the most. Uncertain fees combined with a lack of transparency in the process are contributing to delayed housing development and higher costs."

Adam Millsap, Ph.D., assistant director of the L. Charles Hilton Jr. Center at FSU, agrees.

"Housing prices will continue to rise in Florida unless supply keeps up with demand," Millsap says. "This means we need to build more, not less, but in many Florida communities zoning regulations like minimum lot sizes, height restrictions, and parking requirements get in the way."

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