Maryland affordable housing is scarce, and realtors are lobbying for change

If you have been looking for houses in Maryland lately, you probably have noticed there are not a lot of options — and the few available are expensive.

Maryland Realtors, a trade association for the state’s real estate agents, is trying to push for legislative action this session in order to keep up with demand.

Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors estimate there is a housing shortage of around 120,000 units for Marylanders.

That shortage is driving up the cost of available housing. A recent survey done in January by the group found 76% of Maryland voters think the cost to buy a home in the state is too high.

Maryland Realtors’ concern is growing about the lack of “missing middle” housing, a range of house-scale buildings with multiple units.

“For virtually all Marylanders, there is too little housing for young professionals … 72% say there is too little housing for seniors and those with special needs, 60% say there’s too little housing,” said Maryland Realtor President Elect Chris Hill at a news briefing, during the group’s lobby day with the Maryland General Assembly.

The survey concluded that nearly one in three residents have considered leaving the state due to housing costs.

“This should raise an alarm with our elected leaders on all levels,” CEO Chuck Caskey said.

“The good news is, there are things we can do to help ease this housing deficit. While Maryland Realtors stands ready to do its part, we need help from the Maryland legislature to assure a better housing future for all Marylanders,” said Yolanda Muckle, the current president.

The group is advocating for numerous bill, including Senate Bill 166 that would make projects to convert obsolete commercial buildings into affordable multi-family housing eligible for state funding.

They are also advocating for House Bill 239, which would set up a task force to study the promotion of “Accessory Dwelling Units,” spaces like Carriage house, in-law suites and Granny flats.

The group says ADU laws create affordable units quickly with little to no impact on local government infrastructure and open space.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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