Affordable Housing Scarcity Puts Pressure on Friendlier Laws for Builders

Peter Grant reported on Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “The real-estate industry is having increasing success in using the scarcity of affordable housing in the U.S. to convince lawmakers to give builders more legal protection.

“Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper last week signed a measure making it harder for condominium associations to sue builders over allegedly shoddy construction. Backers, who have been pushing for the change for years, argued that Colorado’s former law, one of the toughest in the country, aggravated the state’s shortage of affordable housing by discouraging condo development.”

The Journal article note that, “A similar measure passed the Minnesota legislature this month and is now before Gov. Mark Dayton. The real-estate industry in that state also argued that current rules have been limiting new supply of relatively inexpensive condominiums by encouraging litigation and driving up insurance costs and other builder expenses.

Developers in both states predict legal changes will lead to a flurry of new construction.”

Mr. Grant added that, “Trial lawyers and homeowner associations that battled the bills raised doubts the measures will trigger much new supply of affordable condos. Opponents accused the real-estate industry of exploiting growing concern about affordable housing availability to advance its agenda.”

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