New Hampshire Housing Developers Speak Out!
November 2, 2021
The Center for Ethics in Society has released a summary of insights and recommendations from its June 2021 luncheon for New Hampshire housing developers. This meeting, which included both nonprofit and for-profit developers, delved into the real reasons behind whether housing developers build, how they build, and how they price their new properties.
Overwhelmingly, developers pointed to state and local regulations on land use as the driving factor behind building and pricing decisions. The longer and more costly the approval process, and the scarcer and more valuable developable land is, the higher will be the price point at which developers can make a project successful. Perhaps ironically, New Hampshire's complex land-use regulations are pushing developers to move out of small-scale single-family developments into large-scale multifamily developments. The fixed cost of winning approval is less of a barrier to housing the more it can be spread over a large number of units. Thus, municipalities trying to push out multifamily housing with strict zoning ordinances and complex review processes might be achieving the opposite of their intention. They do get less housing, overall, but they disincentivize small-scale and single-family developments the most.