ISSUE 4

Creating a Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability

While the housing market is working well for many Minnesota families, many are struggling to find homeownership options in their communities of choice. Housing market data reveals several structural problems:

  • By virtually every measure (land costs, infrastructure, engineering, codes, water protection, energy efficiency, parks, open space, escrow): newly built homes in Minnesota cost more than comparable homes in all other Midwestern Markets

  • The Twin Cities is home to one of the highest gaps between new and existing home prices in the nation. Median existing home: $275,000 --- Median new home: $417,000 = $142,000 difference

  • Up to one-third of a new home’s price in the Twin Cities is due to regulations and policies from the local, regional and state level. We can all agree that’s simply too high and unsustainable.

  • Midwestern housing markets like Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Nashville all build between 50-80% of their new homes at $325,000 or less. Our region builds less than 1/3 of our homes at $325,000 or less.

  • Our broken housing market is greatly reducing options for typical middle class families – where in order to pick the community they want to live in, for work, education, or family reasons, they have to make stark economic choices.

Fixing the Housing Market

Fixing our region’s housing market is complex and challenging – but it can be done. Because there are literally hundreds of local governments and agencies impacting housing costs directly – the legislature must take a centralized approach to this issue. The Housing Industry recommends the establishment of a Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability.

Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability

  • Comprised of 8 legislators: 4 House Reps; 4 Senators – 4 DFL; 4 GOP

  • The Commission’s primary role will be to ensure that affordability and costs are a permanent fixture in housing policy discussions and decisions at all levels of government, equal to the shared values of safety and durability.

  • The Commission would also advise the legislature on strategies to address the homeownership equity gap, review existing and future regulatory requirements, and oversee innovation efforts to increase efficiency in housing construction and affordability.

  • The Commission could recommend specific changes to increase affordability and homeownership access.

Authors
HF 1208 - Representative A. Carlson
SF ­­­1294 - Senator Draheim