How Better Zoning Rules Could Help Housing Affordability

By: Anneken Tappe · February 22, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is the National Zoning Atlas?

America has a shortage of affordable housing. That much is known. One way cities can try to address this issue is through zoning laws, something that’s already being done in cities like Houston.

Every town in the U.S. gets to make its own rules when it comes to zoning rules, which has resulted in 30,000 different sets of zoning rules across the country. A new research project called the National Zoning Atlas is looking to make America’s zoning policies more transparent and accessible by compiling them in a single database.

Clarity and Change

Zoning is a bigger deal than many people realize. It has contributed to the ongoing housing shortage and affordability crisis by limiting the location, type and number of new homes that can be built. At the same time, the complexity and variability of zoning policies obscure potential solutions to those problems. A central database might make it easier to identify ways to improve them.

To date, the National Zoning Atlas includes 2,000 jurisdictions populated by some 35 million people. It has already helped advocates for zoning reform in states like Montana, which is experiencing a post-pandemic population boom, illustrate clearly how other states have effectively used zoning to bring down prices, avoid urban sprawl, and sustainably grow cities.

Looking for more stories like this? Check out On the Money — SoFi’s one-stop-shop for news, trends, and tips!

Check it out

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender