Check out our final video on housing affordability in Missoula.
In parts one and two, Matt Mellott, CCIM, covered the reasons why affordable housing is a challenge. In part three, Matt explores some of the remedies for the affordable housing conundrum.
Creating affordable housing is a complex issue.
Every year, it gets a little more expensive to build houses for our community. As a result, no single solution makes housing more affordable. Progress on this issue will require a multi-pronged strategy.
The first solution is to reduce the time frame of construction by streamlining the approval and permitting process.
Moving subdivision approvals and rezoning through the system quickly would impact housing affordability in Missoula. Dragging these processes out costs money for developers. Those costs end up being passed onto homebuyers in future projects.
Faster decisions from authorities means that developers don’t waste time and resources on projects that will ultimately be turned down. Rapid response also minimizes the amount of legal, design and consulting fees needed for plan revisions.
Consistent, predictable zoning, building and engineering regulations would also help to decrease costs.
For developers trying to build subsidized affordable housing, one of the greatest challenges is coordinating all of the programs.
Most affordable housing is built with subsidies. Often the timing and rules on these resources varies. It may take 12 to 18 months to get approval on one series of credits, while another series of credits may need to be used within 12 to 18 months.
Providing developers with guidance and access to information on all available grants and programs would provide an excellent starting point.
The City of Missoula has made strides with the policy known as A Place to Call Home. While the ideas and intentions in the policy are encouraging, the execution of that policy that will actually start to impact housing affordability.
Have you ever dreamed of being a developer for a day? Follow this link to work through the math developers do as they pencil out a housing project. As it turns out, building affordable housing is rarely affordable.
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