The greater Twin Cities metropolitan region, an area including thirteen counties in central Minnesota and western Wisconsin, is consistently rated in national studies as one of the best places to live and work in America. At the same time, our region faces mounting challenges to housing related quality of life issues.
Overall housing opportunities should be approached with the following goals in mind:
- Demographic trends, housing studies, and citizen input tell us that our communities need a variety of life cycle housing choices, housing units per acre and price options.
- Aging baby boomers, an increase in single heads of households, and changes in household size, coupled with many peoples' desire to live closer to work and family, all point us in this direction.
- Building life cycle housing often results in greater housing density and housing diversity. Life cycle housing means communities must support creation of housing units, both rental and for purchase, that are affordable for low and median income buyers and for the move-up market in order to free up existing affordable housing units for first time buyers.
- Regulatory barriers and fees increase housing costs and reduce housing choices and affordability. Minimum lot sizes, setback requirements, open space dedications, energy efficiency standards, zoning requirements and permit fees, to name a few, all increase housing costs without providing more housing units.
- New and relocating businesses can benefit by building in communities where there is available workforce housing and access to public transportation. Businesses can benefit by approving employer-assisted housing programs when feasible.
- The definition of housing affordability is based on the percentage of household income a person is required to pay for housing. Efforts must be made to develop consistent standards for housing affordability throughout the region.
- The preservation and rehabilitation of existing housing stock should be promoted when this option makes financial sense.
Regional policies must be coordinated to ensure a positive and viable connection between regional growth, housing affordability and transportation.
- REALTORS® promote investment in homeownership, which is, for many residents, the main vehicle for creating financial stability.
- REALTORS® recognize that homeownership encourages individual responsibility and contributes to livable communities.
REALTORS® realize that affordable rental housing not only addresses a need for individuals and families, but also serves as a transition to homeownership for many residents.
- REALTORS® understand we are competing on a global level, as homebuyers compare the quality of life not between one city and another, but between the Twin Cities region and other regional centers. The REALTOR® Association Housing Opportunity Policy is a cooperative effort among Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®, North Metro REALTORS® Association, Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS® and Southern Twin Cities Association of REALTORS® representing 20,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.
November 20, 2009