Affordable Housing and Housing Affordability

Another point that I keep forgetting to make: all of us tend to focus on the new buildings, because animal brains are wired to notice what’s new and different.

But new houses are only ~1% of all houses. (This is broadly true nationally, and even in Raleigh: 2022 ACS says there were 225,320 housing units in Raleigh, and Raleigh issued building permits for 1,756 new units in 2023, so in 2024 only 0.8% of housing units in Raleigh are <1 year old.) So really, when we talk about overall housing prices, we should broaden our focus from new construction.

And the good news there is that there’s a broad consensus among researchers that new housing construction lowers prices across the market.


“The ability of new supply to dampen rent growth… is rather a trend that we observe in many markets. Raleigh, NC [metro] had both the second highest rate of multifamily permits-per-capita issued in 2023 and currently has the second sharpest year-over-year rent decline as of our latest estimates.”

Note that Raleigh has since dropped from #2 to #10 in permits per capita from 2023 to 2024 (Jan-Apr). Austin has kept its #1 rank.