In Vermont, due to a combination of zoning changes, below-market–rate sales of land by municipalities, and other factors, this year's housing permits have shot up 40 percent more than last year, to 1,048 in the first four months alone. But that's not the impressive part. Get this: The average cost of units actually fell from $135,000 to $123,000, putting both rentals and for-sale units back within the reach of many first-time buyers. At the same time, the overall value of new housing reportedly rose by 28 percent. The moral of this tale: Affordability still lies within reach when builders and planners work together to address a critical need.

Source: Providence Journal-Bulletin Online