California has been in the news lately for reasons that’d likely make you hesitate to move there: raging wildfires. On top of the fires, a major fault line, and terrible traffic, the astronomical cost of living is the cherry on top and major reason why people don’t call the Golden State “home”. Even with all the hang-ups, however, California has plenty to attract residents – a glamorous lifestyle, temperate climate, Hollywood, and seemingly endless picturesque shorelines. In fact, California is so popular that it has been dealing with a housing shortage for years, contributing to the high cost of living. The demand for housing in California is constant and ever-pressing. These housing issues were the main focus of a recent New York Times article titled “The Great American Single-Family Home Problem”. In essence, the article is pointing to suburb redevelopment as the solution for housing shortages.
To create more housing, the article shares, cities have traditionally focused on major city areas, building high density apartments and condos. But cities only have so much space. The suburbs, on the other hand, are ripe with open spaces. The article points to one major hurdle for suburb redevelopment, however, and that is disgruntled suburb residents, resistant to change. The article’s major storyline revolves around one lot in Berkeley, CA, where a rundown single-family home was purchased by a developer intending to replace it with 3 small homes. Once neighbors learned of the plan, there was a large outcry and much protesting to the powers-that-be. The struggle described in the article is similar to a prominent local storyline: that of the Ford Site redevelopment. The most recent news there is of a failed attempt by plan opponents to put a measure repealing the site’s zoning on next year’s ballot, as shared in the Star Tribune. As much (and loudly) as some oppose the redevelopment, the plan has the support of city leaders. And as long as elected officials are behind law-abiding projects, there’s not much that can be done.
We mentioned it before, but both Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s incumbent mayors are advocates of higher density housing. As such, there may be more of these redevelopment projects filtering through Twin Cities’ neighborhoods. And while Twin Cities’ suburbs may see more proposals for condos and apartments, we’re probably not yet to the point of replacing a single family home on a small lot with multiple smaller homes. Instead, SW Minneapolis and Edina have experienced a bit of a combo effect with the teardowns-for-McMansions flurry of the past 5 years, alongside the more recent condo builds. To be sure, early action is vital to head-off major housing shortages. We are already experiencing affordable housing issues; development needs to continue at a strong pace to keep up with the high demand our metro area is experiencing. And, with the NYT article quoting experts pointing to suburb redevelopment as the long-term solution for housing shortages, our metro area may quickly transform into a new normal where half acre lots are a thing of the past. It’s a crazy time to be alive – please let me know how I can help you navigate your housing needs (952-258-3100 or email)
Photo credit: morguefile.com with edits