“A Review of Lot and Home Size Minimums in Georgia”
By Chris Denson and J. Thomas Perdue (Georgia Public Policy Foundation)
The Council’s Synopsis
In a study published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Chis Denson and J. Thomas Perdue analyze zoning laws and lot sizes in Georgia. Their methodology intends to highlight unnecessarily inflated restrictions for the development of single-family housing. They ask: which districts have notably high or low minimum lot requirements?
This question is important to the rapidly growing population of Georgia and the Atlanta metropolitan region.
Economics tells us that a low housing supply, especially alongside increasing demand, leads to less affordable housing prices. Supply in Georgia is primarily determined by local governments via zoning laws. If a lot or home size does not exceed a certain minimum square footage, then a local government will not issue a building permit for that property. By that logic, zoning limits on residential density are a primary driver of higher costs.
Based on their data, Denson and Perdue concluded that Georgia’s local governments do not habitually encourage low density. Many more cities and counties in Georgia have minimum lot requirements below the industry standard than above it. That being said, Denson and Perdue reiterate that “the lack of access and affordability is expected to remain an ongoing concern for a state that is estimated to be over 364,000 housing units short.”