Local government leaders sounding alarms over housing shortages spreading across Michigan

September 2023

This report presents the views of Michigan’s local government leaders on local housing issues, including housing capacity and condition in their community, and awareness of various state-level housing programs available to local communities. These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the spring 2023 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), with comparisons from the fall 2017 wave.

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Key findings

  • Statewide, 41% of Michigan local officials report a shortage of single-family housing options in their community, up sharply from 23% who said the same in 2017. In addition, 46% say they have too little multi-family housing, also up significantly from 30% six years ago.
    • In 2017, concerns over lack of single-family housing were particularly high among officials from “mostly urban” communities. Now, these concerns have increased and spread among local leaders of all kinds, from those in rural (40%) and mostly rural (44%) communities, to those from mostly urban (37%) and urban (41%) jurisdictions.
    • Regionally, officials from cities, villages, and townships in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) are the most likely to express concern about insufficient single-family housing (59%) and multi-family housing (61%) in their jurisdictions.
  • A majority (54%) of local officials statewide say their jurisdiction has too little entry-level housing, a large jump from the 34% who said the same in 2017. In addition, 42% report a shortage in mid-range housing (up from 28% in 2017), while 28% say they have too little high-end housing supply (only slightly higher than the 25% who said so in 2017).
  • Today, 40% believe their community lacks sufficient affordable housing, compared with 27% who believe it has enough such supply.
    • A majority (52%) of local leaders from both the U.P. and the Northern Lower Peninsula say their communities currently lack sufficient affordable housing.
  • Over half (51%) of local leaders from Michigan cities, villages and townships report housing stock that is out-of-date, and 53% say their housing stock suffers from blight. These assessments are essentially unchanged from 2017.
  • When asked whether their local government has policies or zoning requirements that hinder new construction or housing renovation in the community, just 13% statewide agree, while 47% disagree. • Meanwhile, concerns about an insufficient regional construction workforce to meet demand have risen sharply over the past six years. Just 24% of local leaders say they currently have a sufficient regional construction workforce to meet demand for new or renovated housing, compared 40% who said the same in 2017.