Updated Jun 22, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the economic forces shaping housing affordability

On Thursday, June 22, Axios Local Atlanta reporter Thomas Wheatley hosted conversations exploring the intersection between local economic strength and housing affordability in Atlanta and beyond. Guests included Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president and chief executive officer Raphael Bostic and senior housing policy advisor to the Mayor of Atlanta Joshua Humphries.

The View from the Top sponsored segment featured Georgia Planning Association president Whitney Shephard.

Raphael Bostic explained the primary challenges to building affordable housing and how he is informing communities of the long-term benefits of affordable housing.

  • On affordability and income: “Another thing I think people also don’t talk about enough is that affordability is a ratio, and it’s the cost of housing divided by income. And so we should also be thinking about what things can we do to make sure that families are making enough money so that they can afford the prevailing levels of pricings that we see in many of these markets.”
  • On the community costs from a lack of affordable housing: “When I think about affordable housing, the thing I try to tell people is the lack of affordable housing is far more costly than you might originally think. So if you think about longer commutes, that is often because people don’t have housing close to where they work, so they got to drive places. If you think about poor performance in schools, we know that when families have to move from place to place, the children do worse. So there are a whole host of other costs that we see in our communities that you can actually go back and say it has a direct link to affordable housing or the lack of affordable housing.”

Joshua Humphries discussed how city planning approaches are informing affordable housing development plans in Georgia.

  • On developing public land for affordable housing: “This past year we participated in a cohort called Putting Assets to Work, and that was with several other U.S. cities, and we looked at both U.S. and international examples of how public land had been put to use for a variety of reasons, but really thinking about how to maximize land assets.”
  • On the challenge of creating housing supply for a growing city: “The city of Atlanta has grown a ton in the last decade and plans to continue growing. That’s the challenge before, I think that as we look at that, we have to ask the question and think really thoughtfully how do we make space for the people that want to move here? Because if we don’t make space for them, it’ll become increasingly unaffordable.”

In the View from the Top segment, Whitney Shephard highlighted the connection between housing and job growth.

  • “The nation is growing jobs faster than we’re producing housing, and those jobs are locating in higher cost of living places without enough housing for workers or in low-cost places with low capacity to develop new homes. And housing supply challenges in places with high job growth are particularly hard on employers and their employees.”

Thank you to the American Planning Association for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper