Redfin Survey: More Than Half of Homebuyers and Sellers Oppose Housing Density, While Only a Quarter Support it

SEATTLE (STL.News) – (NASDAQ: RDFN) — Homebuyers and sellers are nearly twice as likely to oppose the building of dense housing in their neighborhood than they are to support it, according to a new report from Redfin (www.redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage.  Fifty-three percent of homebuyers and sellers support zoning policies that limit housing density near where they live, and 27 percent support policies that enable it.

The report is based on a June survey commissioned by Redfin of over 3,000 U.S. residents who bought or sold a primary residence in the last year, or plan to in the next 12 months.  Today’s report reveals responses to a question asking whether respondents support local zoning policies that limit the number of dense housing units, or those that make it possible for more dense housing units to be built.

When broken down by race, survey results showed key differences across racial groups.  African American homebuyers and sellers are equally as likely to support dense housing in their area as they are to oppose it, with 39 percent supporting policies that encourage density and 39 percent supporting those that limit it.  By contrast, white homebuyers and sellers’ responses fall in line with the overall results, with 56 percent in opposing housing density in their neighborhood and 23 percent supporting dense housing nearby.

“People who don’t want dense housing in their neighborhood often reason that they don’t want to see the character of their neighborhood change,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.  “Minorities, however, may be less likely to have sentimental feelings about the types of housing that characterize their neighborhoods because zoning policies have often contributed to racial inequality through segregation.  However, the minorities who do oppose dense zoning may be opposed to the gentrification that accompanies dense luxury condos and apartments.”

“In places like Minneapolis and Oregon that have already banned single-family zoning, we may see white-flight to areas where single-family homes remain segregated from multi-family homes,” Fairweather continued.  “Even though pro-density zoning is unpopular among most homebuyers, Presidential candidates from both sides of the political spectrum recognize it as a necessary policy for addressing housing affordability.  Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have policies that aim to undo damage racist zoning policies like redlining.  President Trump also wants to redesign zoning laws to allow for more dense housing, but with a more free-market approach.”

Income inequality does not explain most of the difference in density sentiment across racial groups.  When broken down by income, the survey results indicated that homebuyers and sellers in every income bracket were far more likely to oppose density than to support it.

The oldest group of respondents—those aged 65 and up—were more than four times as likely to be against density in their neighborhood (64%) than they were to support it (15%).  The only age group that had more people in favor of supporting density than opposing it was those under 25, of which 41 percent favored density and 36 percent opposed it.

To read the full report, including graphs and the full methodology, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/high-density-housing-sentiment-by-race.

About Redfin

Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a technology-powered real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor.  Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate for listed homes.  Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 85 major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada.  The company has closed more than $85 billion in home sales.

For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit www.redfin.com.  To learn about housing market trends and download data, visit the Redfin Data Center.