Nearly four out of five people in the Granite State believe their communities need more affordable housing, according to a survey by Saint Anselm College’s Center for Ethics and Society released in August.
The survey also showed people believe zoning laws are a major contributor to lack of affordable housing. “The reason why there aren’t enough homes is not for a lack of developers who want to build. The zoning laws make this difficult,” says the center’s Executive Director Max Latona.
The percentage of people who think NH should change its planning and zoning laws to allow for more affordable housing has more than doubled since 2020, according to the survey. Much of NH is zoned for single family homes making it difficult to find land zoned for less expensive housing options, such as multifamily homes, and municipal zoning ordinances can slow or stop local development.
NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard)—the idea that people support something in general or in the abstract, but not in their own neighborhood—is on the decline according to the survey. “What was compelling wasn’t just the demand for more housing but the number of people who identified land regulations needed adjusting,” Latona says. “Sixty percent of respondents said towns and cities should change their zoning laws.”
Latona says the survey provides evidence for leaders that there is support for pro-housing measures. “Sometimes policy makers know there is support for an issue, but they don’t get enough vocal support.”