Visiting Las Vegas, Biden promises lower costs for renters and homeowners 

President Joe Biden speaks on the economy Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Lucas Peltier)

By Sophie Boudreau

March 20, 2024

Biden said his proposed budget would lead to the building of roughly 2 million more affordable homes, including tens of thousands in Nevada. “The bottom line to lower housing costs for good is to build, build, build,” Biden said.

During a speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday, President Joe Biden vowed to address the housing crisis by investing in building more affordable housing options, lowering rent and mortgage costs, and supporting first-time homebuyers through financial aid programs. 

“We need housing that’s affordable,” Biden said during a stop at the Stupak Community Center.

Biden highlighted new housing-related proposals from his Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which would spend $258 billion on housing nationwide. The plan calls for an expansion of low-income housing tax credits, which help developers build affordable units, and more funding to support the construction of affordable multi-family units. 

Biden said his budget would lead to the building of roughly 2 million more affordable homes, “including tens of thousands right here in Nevada.”

“The bottom line to lower housing costs for good is to build, build, build,” Biden said.

Help for homeowners

The president’s budget plan also calls on Congress to help aspiring homeowners by providing a $10,000 mortgage relief tax credit to middle-class first-time homeowners, offering up to $25,000 in down payment assistance for thousands of first-generation homebuyers, and reducing closing costs for buyers at an average rate of $750 per family. 

“We’re also making it more affordable to refinance your home by eliminating title insurance fees on federally backed mortgages,” Biden said Tuesday. “That’s going to save folks as much as $1,500. The federal government can afford to do that.”

These proposals would be particularly welcome in Nevada, where home costs continue to climb. 

In Sept. 2020, the median home sale price in Nevada was $344,800, according to Redfin. As of Feb. 2024, that figure had risen to $446,700, a 30% increase.

Biden’s vision for expanding accessibility for first-time homeowners is shared by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who announced a bill this month to lower costs for first-time buyers. The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Act would establish a point-of-sale tax credit up to $15,000 to help purchasers afford their down payment. 

‘Housing is so much more than just a word’

Renters would also benefit under Biden’s plan, which would boost rental assistance for low-income families. Under his proposal, corporate landlords could also face legal consequences for unethical information sharing, rent inflation, and price-fixing. “Convenience charges” for services like online payment portals, mail sorting, and trash collection would be nixed, helping protect renters from hidden costs and “junk fees.”

In Las Vegas, the average cost of rent is $1,457 per month, according to RentCafe, up over 30% from the beginning of the pandemic.

“Housing is so much more than just a word,” Biden said. “It’s about people’s lives.”

Biden also pointed to the success of ongoing projects established since his administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed in 2021.  

Successes to build off of

In Nevada, the ARPA allotted $1 billion in funding to address housing affordability. About $700 million of that funding went toward constructing new housing options for seniors, including a projected 1,000 new senior living units and multiple 200-unit affordable apartment complexes in Clark County alone. 

Under the ARPA, Nevada also assisted 500 state residents in affording down payments to purchase homes—with each homebuyer receiving $15,000 toward costs. 

Biden, who referred to his November opponent Donald Trump only as “my predecessor,” took an urgent yet hopeful tone Tuesday while detailing his administration’s housing programs.  

What we’ve been doing works to increase housing supply and to keep costs down in the future,” Biden said. “First, for homeowners, inflation keeps coming down, it’s predicted to do that. Mortgage rates are going to come down as well. But I’m not going to wait. I’m not going to wait.” 

  • Sophie Boudreau

    Sophie Boudreau is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience covering lifestyle, culture, and political topics. She previously served as senior editor at eHow and produced Michigan and Detroit content for Only In Your State.

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