Big Ideas to Boost Affordable Housing Supply

Reimagine Homeownership


Limited supply and increasing demand are causing home costs to rise.

Single-family homes available for sale are at an all-time low.1

Record employment2 and more consumers looking to buy or rent3 are contributing to higher demand.

The median home price has increased since 20124

Lack of affordable housing is an issue across the country — even for median income households.

Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, "State of the Nation's Housing", 2018

We're spotlighting the innovative ways to boost affordable housing supply.

New Ways to Build

Inventive design and materials are making homes more affordable.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Built on the same lot as the primary home, these units add affordable supply and generate a new income source.

Homes for Less

Auburn University's Rural Studio created the “$20,000 home,” blending beautiful design with lower cost building materials.5

Floor Plans For Today

Most homes are built for nuclear families—two parents and kids—but only 20% of households fit that definition.6 Updated floor plan designs would better match current needs.

Sustainable Communities

Fannie Mae launched the Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge to help connect communities to quality economic, health, and educational opportunities.7

The Future of Factory-Built Housing

Manufactured and modular homes can help increase housing supply and provide alternatives to traditional homes with affordable financing.

Manufactured Housing
  • Designed to HUD standards
  • Comes with modern, high-quality finishes
Modular Housing9
  • Can be 20% cheaper to develop
  • Has 50% less waste than conventional building projects

"Going Green" is Good Business

Research says green housing developments have lower utility costs and higher tenant satisfaction.

Green developments use 14% less energy per square foot.10

Portland builders are required to use the Home Energy Score™.11

Fannie Mae's green financing helps developers make energy-and cost-saving upgrades. Utility bill savings are passed on to tenants, helping reduce housing costs.
We're focused on the triple bottom line, good for the owner, good for the community, good for the tenant.” –Bob Simpson, VP Affordable and Green Financing, Fannie Mae

Policy Updates

Elected officials are helping to tackle the affordable housing issue by adopting measures that could increase supply.

Zoning regulations

New zoning regulations are increasing the affordable housing supply.

Minneapolis recently ended single-family zoning.

Single-family zoning has been that sacred cow of urban planning. And it's a cow we don't need anymore. Zoning needs to be adapted to the realities that we're dealing with today.”–Jacob Frey, Mayor, Minneapolis, MN
Development & transit

Development close to transit cuts commute costs for low-income workers and provides easy access to job opportunities.12

A working family – even one whose rent or mortgage payment is affordable – cannot prosper long-term without access to transportation or health care near that home.”–Jeffery Hayward, EVP and Head of Multifamily, Fannie Mae
Tiny homes

Regulating tiny homes can help the trend go mainstream—and increase supply.

Maine was the first state to create tiny home construction guidelines.13

Parking requirements

Eliminating required parking for new housing increases construction and lowers costs.

San Francisco was the largest U.S. city to eliminate minimum parking requirements for housing.14

Spread the word. Industry leaders are helping to boost affordable supply.


  1. 1 Fannie Mae ESR Analysis - Date through Q1 2018
  2. 2 U.S. Labor Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, May 29, 2019
  3. 3 Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, "State of the Nation's Housing," 2018
  4. 4 Federal Housing Finance Agency, House Price Index
  5. 5 Rural Studios
  6. 6 U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates - Households and Families
  7. 7 Fannie Mae
  1. 8 The Urban Institute *Does not include price of land, "Urban Wire: Housing and Housing Finance," Jan. 29, 2018.
  2. 9 WSP USA, "Modular Construction for Multifamily Affordable Housing," February 2018, p. 4.
  3. 10 The Impact of Green Affordable Housing Report: A Report by Southface and the Virginia Center for Housing," p. iii
  4. 11 The City of Portland, Oregon. Home Energy Score is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Energy
  5. 12 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  6. 13 The Tiny House Society
  7. 14