Maryland Realtors press state lawmakers in Annapolis to address housing shortage

Real estate professionals are warning that Maryland’s housing market is increasingly squeezing out middle-income earners and making it harder for Marylanders of all income levels to buy a home.

Maryland Realtors held a news conference Tuesday morning in Annapolis, calling on lawmakers to support a handful of bills that could create more homes. Chuck Kasky, the association’s CEO, warned that Maryland is headed for a housing crisis similar to what’s happening on the West Coast.


“For virtually all Marylanders, there is too little housing,” Kasky said. “We are seeing the highest jumps in affordability concerns among those with moderate incomes.”

That’s based on a January survey of more than 800 registered voters commissioned by Maryland Realtors. This was the group’s third annual survey, and it found that voters appear increasingly anxious about housing costs — both rent and mortgage payments. More than 60% of respondents with a full-time job say they are not making enough to afford a home.


More than a fifth of respondents said they have thought about moving outside Maryland due to housing costs, according to the survey, and a majority of voters across all demographic levels think housing costs are too high.

Across the country, the cost of housing has been rising faster than the rate of inflation, meaning it’s increasingly hard to afford a home. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, home prices in the Baltimore metropolitan area have increased 34% over the past five years.

Data from the National Association of Realtors shows the metropolitan Baltimore area’s housing crunch is only getting worse. As in many major metropolitan areas, the rate of new job growth is outpacing the number of new building permits. For every eight jobs created here, there is just one new building permit. That is on par with the areas around Los Angeles and San Francisco and worse than Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Yolanda Muckle, the outgoing CEO of Maryland Realtors, said one way to quickly impact the housing shortage is to legalize accessory dwelling units statewide. This would allow individual homeowners to add a second residence to their property. Many Maryland jurisdictions ban or restrict accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

ADUs are more commonly known as carriage homes, basement apartments or granny flats, but just 14% of survey respondents said they had heard of the term. There is a bill that would create a task force to study ADUs and report its findings by December 2024, but Muckle said it’s already clear that ADUs would help ease the state’s housing crisis. The time to act is now, she said.

“By the end of 2024, this housing shortage will only grow worse if nothing is done,” Muckle said.