Housing Plan

Dr. Sherman's Housing Plan

New Hampshire is facing a housing affordability crisis that is having a profound effect on our communities. We need to build a New Hampshire that matches our values: where our kids can afford to stay, our businesses can find workers, and seniors can retire in the same communities they love. Teachers, police officers, nurses, and firefighters should be able to afford to live in the communities where they work. For our economy to reach its full potential, we need strong communities that have a broad range of housing options.


This housing crisis has been years in the making, driven by a lack of available housing supply. New Hampshire’s rental vacancy rate is below 1 percent, causing rents to increase by almost 25 percent in the last five years, and median sales prices are routinely setting record highs with buyers unable to find affordable options. Businesses in New Hampshire are anxious to grow, but say they can’t find anyone to hire because workers can’t afford to move here. The current housing situation in New Hampshire is not sustainable


The Building New Hampshire Values Housing Plan addresses the essential components to growing our economy, unlocking our potential, and building a New Hampshire where people can truly afford to live, work, and play.


Rental Vacancy Rate


Increase in Median Rent in last 5-years


Increase In Median Sales Price in last 5-Years

Unlock Local Potential

Local solutions are the foundation for addressing our housing crisis

Smart housing and development strategies acknowledge that every town has unique needs and opportunities. The state’s role is to provide the resources and tools to help communities develop solutions that are right for them. The reality is all communities can do something. These policies will support main streets and help communities develop broad tax bases that will lower overall property taxes.


Cut Red Tape: Delays and unnecessary regulation costs money and makes projects more expensive. These costs are shifted down to the eventual renter or home buyer.  We must be proactive in ensuring towns have the support to achieve their goals efficiently in partnership with developers. 

    • Policy Proposals:
      • Fully staff the Regional Planning Commissions and the Office of Planning and Development to work with under-resourced local communities and stakeholders
      • Allocate ongoing resources for communities to fund internal audits of overburdensome codes and approvals processes
      • Instruct applicable Department Commissioners to review regulatory hurdles and prepare legislative recommendations
      • Assess underutilized state land that could be used for housing development 

Zoning: Zoning that allows for reasonable opportunities to create housing is fundamental to addressing this crisis. Municipal planning offices are often overworked and understaffed with limited opportunities to engage in larger reviews and zoning updates. Zoning is ever-evolving and needs to grow with our communities. 

    • Policy Proposals:
      • Create an annual municipal grant fund at $500,000 per year to allow municipalities to update their zoning codes
      • Encode model zoning ordinances that municipalities can easily adopt which allow for historical, community-scale density

Local Infrastructure Investments: Local infrastructure limitations restrict opportunities for smart development. Whether it is water, sewer, or transit, under-resourced communities are unable to make the investments necessary to expand the capacity that allows for additional housing. 

    • Policy Proposals:
      • Create a revolving loan fund for municipalities for sewer, water, and transit infrastructure investments
      • Leverage federal infrastructure funds to help communities make once-in-a-lifetime investments
      • Create incentive program that links additional DOT and DES state aid with the adoption of zoning or infrastructure that allows reasonable opportunities for housing

Expand Lending and Tax Credit Programs

There are many great existing programs – we need to fund them

Affordable housing developers operate on exceedingly slim margins with tax credits and additional lending programs necessary to make the financial math feasible. New Hampshire has a number of great lending programs, but they need to be scaled up to meet the current need.

Community Tax Credit Program: The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority awards approximately $5 million in tax credits annually, but there’s more demand than there is funding. These tax credits, which help fund community economic development initiatives including housing, allow businesses to purchase the credits resulting in a donation to a nonprofit and the business receiving a tax credit to lower their state tax burden. There’s a 2:1 return on investment for the state for each tax credit. This is an innovative public-private partnership program unique to New Hampshire. 

    • Policy Proposal:
      • Triple the $5 million annual awards to $15 million in annual awards and fully fund necessary wrap-around support services

Affordable Housing Fund: The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority administers the Affordable Housing Fund to facilitate the purchase and rehabilitation or construction of affordable housing. The fund, which began receiving an annual $5 million allocation from the Real Estate Transfer Tax in the FY 20 state budget, provides critical flexible funding for the development of affordable housing. 

    • Policy Proposal:
      • Double the $5 million annual allocation to $10 million to continue expanding the capacity of the fund

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit: New Hampshire’s historic downtowns are fundamental to the character of our communities. However, as time goes on many buildings are in need of repair, especially those that can be converted or rehabilitated into housing. Many states around the country have a state-level historic tax credit that incentivizes the rehabilitation of our historic buildings. New Hampshire should join the 39 other states and create a state-level tax credit. This credit can be paired with the 79-E Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive to spur local historic rehabilitation.

    • Policy Proposal:
      • Establish state-level historic tax credit program similar to Maine

Invest In The Trades

Development is not possible without the workforce

New Hampshire must do more to invest in trades so that we have the highly trained workforce necessary to increase our housing stock. The housing crisis will be addressed through both larger-multifamily projects and residential infill (building in-law apartments, converting single-family to multi-unit), but regardless of project, we need the contractors and tradespeople to make it happen. 


Education and Job Training: There is a significant shortage of contractors, plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, which causes project delays and increased costs. These are the good, middle-class jobs that are the foundation of our communities. We have the tools at our disposal to incentivize Granite Staters graduating high school or those seeking a career change to receive the training necessary to enter the trades. 

    • Policy Proposals:
      • Double the funding for the Job Training Program established under RSA 282-A
      • Collaborate with stakeholders to identify promising apprenticeship programs and curriculum within our high schools, CTE programs, and the Community College System to scale-up and market these workforce options