Legislative Update: June 13, 2023

Legislative Update: June 13, 2023

Budget targets housing affordability

Chief Executive Officer

“I think we have kind of made history,” said House Speaker Sherman Packard, a Londonderry Republican, after the New Hampshire Senate and House agreed on a new state budget with broad bipartisan support.

Appropriations for housing initiatives were clearly a priority for budget writers. The final plan appropriates $25 million to the state’s Affordable Housing Fund while creating an entirely new program, the Housing Champions Fund, designed to give municipalities the option to apply and receive the “New Hampshire Housing Champion” designation. In exchange for that designation, a municipality will receive preferential access to state resources, including discretionary state infrastructure funds.

InvestNH, which is administered by the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA), was appropriated another $10 million. That program provides grants and loans which are available to both municipalities and housing developers for projects where at least 20 percent of the housing units will be affordable for a period of at least 10 years. 

The budget is now headed to the Governor’s desk, where he has already indicated he would sign it.

Opinion: How to fix the NH housing shortage? Get back to protecting private property rights.

While the legislature should be applauded for appropriating millions to incentivize the construction of affordable housing throughout the state, it is important to keep in mind that state or federal appropriations will never be enough to significantly increase housing inventory. 

For context, if $40 million offsets an average of $25,000 per unit (apartment, condo or single-family), that amounts to about 1,600 units. New Hampshire needs over 50,000 new units this decade to meet demand.

NHAR President Ben Cushing wrote an op-ed on the need for legislative action to better protect private property owners' rights so that property owners can develop the housing New Hampshire needs. It appeared in the Union Leader, Concord MonitorNH Business Review and NH Bulletin.

Wrote Cushing, “Realtors are committed to ensuring adequate and affordable housing options for everyone. As such, we believe that the only long-term solution to our housing crisis is by empowering our state’s property owners to create the housing New Hampshire’s workers and families need.”

NHAR Legislative Day allows REALTORS to meet our elected officials.

More than 150 New Hampshire REALTORS stood alongside NHAR President Ben Cushing and NAR First Vice President Kevin Sears at the front steps of the state Capitol in Concord last week to celebrate NHAR’s legislative accomplishments and the power of the REALTOR ‘R’ at Riding With The Brand Legislative Day.

Over 300 Representatives and Senators joined our members for lunch on the State House lawn, and a little rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of our members as we discussed legislative priorities with elected officials. 

“We couldn’t be in a better place to talk about these issues on this day than the State House,” Cushing told the assembled REALTORS. “Policy makers need to understand that we truly are in a crisis, that the crisis is rooted in a lack of inventory, and that steps need to be taken right here in this building if we’re going to dig our way out.”

Quotes of the Week

If I had a nickel for every time we talk about affordable housing in this body, I would be a rich man.

– Sen Timothy Lang (R-Sanbornton) during the Senate budget debate

“ We’re really excited to set up this new program and see how we can use it to support our cities and towns in becoming partners in creating more housing, and especially housing that can be affordable to our next generation.” 

– Sen. Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka (D-Portsmouth) talking about her initiative to create a Housing Champions fund.

For more information, contact New Hampshire Realtors CEO Bob Quinn: bob@nhar.com.

"Amidst the sea of change to which the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS has played witness in its 85 years, one thing that has remained constant is the Realtor 'R' and the value we bring to every real estate transaction in which we take part. We are part of a unique community where our familial cooperation transcends our business competition. These are not mere platitudes, but our living ideals, and they are, in fact, the foundation on which we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day affairs."

Joanie McIntire, 2024 President, New Hampshire REALTORS