Her two cents

Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to an audience of about 900 outside the student center at Keene State College in September.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren rolled out a $500 billion affordable housing plan this week, outlining a significant supply increase to rental units nationwide.

New Hampshire’s rental market is almost as tight as it could be, with the vacancy rate for two-bedroom apartments sitting below 1 percent in June, N.H. Housing reported that month.

Meanwhile, two in 10 Granite Staters spend more than half of their income on rent or are experiencing homelessness, according to a study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Local control of zoning has a significant influence on the housing stock and its pricing — with many communities’ rural character coming at a cost — but the Warren campaign is promising a massive federal investment to help states increase their affordable housing and rehabilitate existing units.

Upgrading Keene’s aging apartment buildings and houses was central to Mayor-elect George S. Hansel’s campaign, and affordable housing was a major focus of the race between him and longtime City Councilor Mitchell H. “Mitch” Greenwald.

Warren’s $500 billion investment would be spread out over 10 years, targeting more than 3 million units nationwide, according to her plan, which is available on the self-publishing website Medium.

The plan would be financed by lowering the estate tax exemption threshold from $22 million to $7 million, which the campaign cites as the level it sat at upon former President George W. Bush leaving office. The 2017 tax cut championed by President Donald Trump weakened the estate tax and brought the exemption up to $22 million per family, or $11 million per individual.

That tax hike would affect 14,000 families, according to a Moody’s analysis.

The same analysis estimates Warren’s plan would create 1.5 million new jobs, along with reducing rent 10 percent across the board.

Essentially, the Warren plan would flood the market with a greater supply of government-funded affordable housing in an effort to reduce overall prices.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts said she would also pursue legal action as president against the 30 states prohibiting cities from establishing rent control, according to the plan’s section on “empowering communities, rather than Wall Street.”

Jake Lahut can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or jlahut@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @JakeLahut.