fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Met Council Policies Threaten Dream of Home Ownership

The Twin Cities face a chronic shortage of affordable housing. But not the kind activists like to talk up. There’s nowhere near enough affordable new starter homes for middle class buyers on the market, according to an MPR report.

Real estate developer Paul Heuer wants to build houses that regular people can afford. But he says increases in land, labor and lumber costs — in addition to regulatory costs — have made building a new starter home virtually impossible.

“Definitely on the first-time home buyer, there’s a substantial market that’s not being met,” Heuer said. “In the mid- to upper ranges, we’re doing alright. But on the lower ends we’re definitely not satisfying the needs.”

It’s the most sought-after segment of the housing market in the Twin Cities. But new single-family starter homes in the metro area cost north of $300,000, out of reach of the family budget for many first-time home buyers.

In fact, the median cost of a starter home here has increased $30,000 over the last ten years. Some 25 percent of the cost can be attributed to burdensome regulations, often imposed by local governments. At the same time,  the supply of lower priced existing starter homes continues to shrink.

Yet the Met Council may be the biggest villain in restraining the supply and increasing the cost of starter homes. The unelected regional government’s policies effectively limit the availability of land for building and thus the supply.

Heuer said he thinks the way to build more affordable homes is to build further out from the Twin Cities urban core. That’s been a successful strategy for developers for decades. People drive to affordability, builders say.

But that kind of development is restricted by the Metropolitan Council, which decides where it will supply critical infrastructure, like sewer lines, to homes. The Met Council establishes what are called growth boundaries, and Heuer thinks they should extend those boundaries to allow developers like him build farther out.

But Lisa Barajas, the director of community development at the Met Council, said the region can’t afford to extend sewer lines and other infrastructure farther than what they’ve already planned for. In addition, she said, the region doesn’t need more single-family homes.

In reality, regional planners don’t want to encourage you to buy into the American dream of owning a single family home. Here’s how Lisa Barajas puts it:

“We probably have enough single-family homes on the ground today to meet our total demand going through 2040,” Barajas said. “The issue is not the amount of single family homes, it’s who wants to have those homes and who’s still living in them.”

Nor do you need to read between the lines to conclude Ms. Barajas also sees a future for you in the urban core that revolves around bikes, light rail and walking.

…looking ahead, she predicts that the Twin Cities will need a different type of housing in the future.

“We would say overall there is a demand to live in more connected, walkable areas. That’s not just true for millennials, that’s true across generations,” Barajas said.

Who elected Lisa Barajas and her colleagues behind implementing these far-reaching policies?  No one. It’s the Met Council.

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Lunch Forum with Amity Shlaes

    Location: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Buy tickets HERE. About This Event: Enjoy our Early Bird Ticket Special through February 23rd! After this date, ticket price will increase to $30. Doors open at 11:30 AM, program and lunch begin at Noon. In Great Society, the New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Man and Coolidgeoffers a stunning revision of our last great period of idealism, the 1960s, with burning relevance for our contemporary challenges. Today, a battle rages in our country. Many Americans are attracted to socialism and economic redistribution while opponents of those ideas argue for purer capitalism. In the 1960s, Americans sought the…

    Register Now
  • Morning in Minnesota Breakfast Series: Moorhead

    Location: Moorhead Country Club 2101 North River Drive, Moorhead, MN, 56560

    Join Center of the American Experiment Friday, February 21 at the Moorhead Country Club for a FREE breakfast with policy fellow Isaac Orr.

    Register Now
  • 2020 Annual Dinner Featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403

    American President: The Unorthodox Approach to Politics that Changed the World. Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to 2019. A trusted confidant of the President, Sanders advised him on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy. For two and a half years, Sanders was at the President’s side, battling with the media, working with lawmakers and CEOs, and staffing the President on every foreign trip, including dozens of meetings with foreign leaders. Sanders is only the third woman and the first mother to hold the job of…

    Register Now