University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Housing Affordability in Michigan: Public and Private Sector Tradeoffs

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March 2019

Jacob Murray

Abstract

Housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable. The for-profit housing market is failing working class and low-income families. As a lingering effect of the 2007 foreclosure crises, over 36% of households now rent their home. 1 Rent continues to rise, placing undue burden on many Michigan households. In the state of Michigan, politicians and businesses promote private investment to increase housing supply. As exemplified by the trajectory of Detroit over the past decade, the influx of private capital has serious implications for municipalities. While private investment and development generate economic activity, housing affordability continues to plague many communities. To understand the issue at hand, public officials must weigh the tradeoffs between private and public investment. Ultimately, to address this growing crisis, localities should construct a large number of government-owned municipal housing complexes.

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