After an eight-hour meeting that included a public comment period for which 74 people signed up to speak, the Planning Board voted eight in favor (with one member not voting) to forward the proposal to City Council for review. City Council is expected to take it up in October.
Hundreds of people sent written comments to the board ahead of its decision. For months, residents have aired such concerns as fear of having former prisoners as neighbors. People who share housing have pushed for their arrangements to be legitimized.
The proposed zoning code change includes increasing the number of adults who aren’t related who can legally share a single-family home from two to five, with larger homes allowed to harbor as many as 10.
Jason Hornyak told the Planning Board that the changes would allow younger people to do what he did not know was illegal when he arrived in Denver as a recent college graduate: pool resources with others to be able to afford a home and start a life here. Referring to the city Community Planning and Development department that created the amendment, Hornyak said: “Cheers to CPD for making Denver a more equitable city.”
Denver has an immediate need for housing, and the city has made it a priority to address that need by working to make more options available for all residents. Updating zoning rules is one piece of the city’s overall strategy to provide more and better housing opportunities for all residents.
Lazerus42 My home town West Los Angeles is terrible at this. Parking is atrocious, and so is the ability to rezone single resident to multi floor apartments, or even apartment complex. We understandably don’t allow new developements to happen without built in parking now, but that then creates a city of high end apartments being the only thing people want to develop. So parking is a stigma of the issues. Of course public transportation is big for many metropolises, but LA is big, like big big. Public transportation is good, but bad in LA.. lots of NIMBY stopping the way. (look at trying to pass a trolley line near Beverly Hills High School) So this leads to a realm of housing that is damn near impossible to afford. I don’t quite know what to do. I’m not an expert in any way. It’s just what I’ve come to understand is the issue.
wizardnamehere The cause is a lack of public transport. But transport projects are rendered unviable by the large ownership and preference to cars. You have to tackle the issue from both ends. You also need planning policy which aims to reduce total trips taken outside the local area. —
I think where we’re doing bad is that the prices of our houses are far too high. The biggest worry that people in Amsterdam have is, “Can I pay my rent, or can I pay my mortgage, or actually, can I live in Amsterdam?” Because it’s so expensive. And that is such a strange thing because we calculate our G.D.P., so how wealthy the city is, by the prices of our houses. So, we say, “Okay, we have very expensive houses, so we are doing well. We’re a rich city.” But actually, we’re saying, “There’s no access for a lot of young people, but also older people because it’s far too expensive.” So, how could we say that our city is doing well?
No one knows when the COVID-19 crisis will pass, but the Mile High City real estate scene continues to operate at a fever pitch, with the average closing price for a house in July, as calculated by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, landing at $601,863, an all-time record.
From the early outbreaks to the economic destruction that has come after, the coronavirus pandemic has mapped itself onto America’s longstanding affordable housing problem and the gaping inequality that underlies it. To offset rising rents in a nation where one in four tenant households spend more than half of their pretax income on shelter, a multitude of low-wage service workers have piled into ever more crowded homes
San Francisco, there is a rough economic split. Cities and neighborhoods to the east, places like East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and the Belle Haven section of Menlo Park, are more overcrowded and have a larger share of low-income and Black and Latino residents, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Towns and neighborhoods to the west, places like Hillsborough and Palo Alto, are whiter and rich.
This geography is as fundamental to how the place operates as the invention of the microchip. Every day, throngs of clerks, landscapers and elder-care workers wake up on the eastern parts and travel to homes on the western parts or to the corporate campuses of tech companies to do subcontracting work. And every night, they return to overcrowded homes.
Wall Street’s latest real estate grab has ballooned to roughly $60 billion, representing hundreds of thousands of properties. In some communities, it has fundamentally altered housing ecosystems in ways we’re only now beginning to understand, fueling a housing recovery without a homeowner recovery. “That’s the big downside,” says Daniel Immergluck, a professor of urban studies at Georgia State University. “During one of the greatest recoveries of land value in the history of the country, from 2010 and 2011 at the bottom of the crisis to now, we’ve seen huge gains in property values, especially in suburbs, and instead of that accruing to many moderate-income and middle-income homeowners, many of whom were pushed out of the homeownership market during the crisis, that land value has accrued to these big companies and their shareholders.”
Before 2010, institutional landlords didn’t exist in the single-family-rental market; now there are 25 to 30 of them, according to Amherst Capital, a real estate investment firm. From 2007 to 2011, 4.7 million households lost homes to foreclosure, and a million more to short sale. Private-equity firms developed new ways to secure credit, enabling them to leverage their equity and acquire an astonishing number of homes.
The Great Wall Street Housing Grab Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.
Francesca Mari, NYTIMES
In California, more than 100,000 people sleep on the streets. The tent cities in Los Angeles’s skid row have distinct neighborhoods, and across from a homelessness center, the bodies on the sidewalk are four rows deep. Trailers line the streets near Google’s Mountain View headquarters, and in Modesto, a woman sleeping in a cardboard box was crushed to death by a front loader that came to clear her encampment away.
Francesca Mari, NY Times
Fighting for Housing in America
By Conor Dougherty
To better understand how rents and affordability have changed over time, Apartment List analyzed Census data from 1960 – 2014. We find that inflation-adjusted rents have risen by 64%, but real household incomes only increased by 18%. The situation was particularly challenging from 2000 – 2010: household incomes actually fell by 7%, while rents rose by 12%. As a result, the share of cost-burdened renters nationwide more than doubled, from 24% in 1960 to 49% in 2014.
Mr. Newsom campaigned on a promise to usher in reforms that would lead to the construction of 3.5 million housing units by 2025. That output would be more than quadruple the current rate, and the governor has started referring to it as a “stretch goal.”
California is not only well behind that pace, but the number of housing permits has actually turned downward — hovering around 100,000 units in 2019 — despite a strong economy and a median home value, $556,000, that is more than twice the national figure.
It is hard to overstate the threat posed to the state’s economy and prosperity. Housing costs are the primary reason that California’s poverty rate, 18.2 percent, is the highest of any state when adjusted for its cost of living, despite a thriving economy that has led to strong income growth and record-low unemployment.
Listed at $1,005/month, this studio apartment is located at 1431 Humboldt St. South.
In the apartment, you can expect a dishwasher. Amenities offered in the building include a resident lounge and on-site laundry. Pet owners, take heed: This property is both dog-friendly and cat-friendly. There’s no leasing fee required for this rental.
Walk Score indicates that the surrounding area is a “walker’s paradise,” is convenient for biking and offers many nearby public transportation options.
“Rent is obscene here”: The issues forcing people in Seattle onto the street
Anderson Cooper visits a tent city in the Seattle area and hears from some of America’s more than 500,000 homeless people
Tricia Wood: I used to be one of those people that thought that if anyone was homeless they just needed to go get a job. That would solve their homeless problems.
Anderson Cooper: How would you answer that question now? Why can’t they just get a job?
Tricia Wood: Oh my goodness. Maybe they have a job.
Josiah Wood has a full-time job. He gets up before dawn and takes mass transit to work as a maintenance supervisor at the Hard Rock Café downtown. Though he makes $19.50 an hour, the rent for an average one-bedroom apartment in Seattle would eat up half his salary. He and Tricia say they’ve been saving up money so they can afford a security deposit and monthly rent.
Anderson Cooper: How long do you think you’ll keep living in the tent city?
Tricia Wood: I would hope we are out of here by winter.
SAN FRANCISCO — Social media influencer Sarah Tripp and her husband, Robbie Tripp, moved to San Francisco in 2016 brimming with optimism.
“We thought, here’s a city full of opportunities and connections where you go to work hard and succeed,” says Tripp, 27, founder of the lifestyle blog Sassy Red Lipstick.
But after a year-long hunt for suitable housing in San Francisco only turned up “places for $1 million that looked like rundown shacks and needed a remodel,” the couple packed up and moved to Phoenix.
They went from paying San Francisco rents of $2,500 for a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment that was far from shopping and other amenities, to purchasing a newly constructed 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom home where they’ll raise their newly arrived baby boy.
“It was cool to be living near all those high-tech startups,” Tripp says of her Bay Area years. “But you quickly saw that if you weren’t part of that, you’d be pushed out. It’s just sad.”
“Stephen, you’ve been proven right on housing, and I think you’re about to be proven even more right. The most important driver of home prices is supply and demand. And right now, there is a chronic undersupply of homes in America.”
Census Bureau data shows an average of 1.5 million homes were built each year since 1959. Yet since 2009, just 900,000 homes have been built per year. In fact, fewer homes were built in the past decade than in any decade since the ‘50s!
We have a serious housing shortage in America today. It would take less than six months to sell every existing home on the market…
California, the country’s wealthiest and most populous state, also has the most homeless, an unremitting crisis that has confounded the state’s political leaders for decades and exposed one of the most extreme manifestations of economic inequality gripping the country.
Tent encampments — Oakland city officials count 90 of them — are now as much a part of the landscape as the bars and restaurants that cater to the city’s rising affluence. Many Americans are one medical emergency, one layoff, one family disaster away from bankruptcy or losing the roofs over their heads.
I was driving around Downtown Denver earlier today and drove past three people sleeping on the street, a few blocks from the ballpark. They didn’t have much baggage – no tents or sleeping bags, and one of them was in a large electric wheelchair. You see a lot of homeless people in Denver so I might not have registered these three, but that I had read this article earlier in the day, and I can’t see how someone survives being homeless in an electric wheelchair.
The city of Minneapolis just launched a quiet revolution when the city council voted to abolish single-family zoning. This is an excellent move. Cities around the country should follow suit.
Single-family zoning is also bad for economic equality. It makes it a lot harder for people of modest means to live in a thriving area, since these people tend only be able to afford apartments, townhouses or other smaller or multifamily dwellings. Blue-collar workers aren’t just being priced out of the country’s increasingly productive cities — they’re being prevented from moving there in search of better opportunities. Urbanist Richard Florida refers to this in his book “The New Urban Crisis.”
There’s also a racial dimension to the inequality that exclusionary zoning creates. Black families, which tend to earn less money, are kept out of white neighborhoods by their inability to afford the sprawling homes that cities mandate be built there. In fact, single-family zoning might have even been invented for just this purpose, as part of a large raft of approaches that cities used to keep higher-earning whites segregated from generally lower-earning black residents after race-based zoning was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1917. Eliminating this zoning is thus one important step on the road to integration.
The Oregon Legislature has passed a bill that largely bans single-family zoning statewide. It’s a notable win for zoning reform advocates.
On Sunday, the Oregon Senate passed HB 2001 by a 17-9 vote, with Republicans and Democrats lining up on both sides of the bill. The Oregon House approved its version of the bill two weeks ago in a similarly bipartisan 43-16 vote.
CONTINUING SHORTFALL IN SUPPLY
Just as the recent housing downturn was longer and deeper than any other since the Great Depression, the residential construction rebound has been slower. Since reaching bottom in 2011 at just 633,000 new units, additions to the housing stock have grown at an average annual rate of just 10 percent. Despite these steady gains, completions and placements totaled only 1.2 million units last year—the lowest annual production, excluding 2008–2018, going back to 1982.
The sluggish construction recovery is in part a response to persistently weak household growth after the recession. On a three-year trailing basis, the number of net new households dropped below 1.0 million in 2008 and held below that mark for seven straight years, including a low of just 534,000 in 2009. By comparison, even through the three recessions and large demographic shifts that occurred between 1980 and 2007, household growth still averaged 1.3 million annually and only dipped below 1.0 million once.
With the economy finally back on track, household growth picked up to 1.2 million a year in 2016–2018, close to expected levels given the size and age composition of the population. But new construction was still depressed relative to demand, with additions to supply just keeping pace with the number of new households (Figure 1). As a result, the national vacancy rate for both owner-occupied and rental units fell again in 2018, to 4.4 percent, its lowest point since 1994.
Housing costs have become so expensive in some cities that people are renting bunk beds in a communal home for $1,200 a month. Not a bedroom. A bed.
PodShare is trying to help make up for the shortage of affordable housing in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles by renting dormitory-style lodging and providing tenants a co-living experience.
A PodShare membership allows you to snag any of the 220 beds — or pods — at six locations across Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. There’s no deposit and no commitment. You get a bed, a locker, access to wifi and the chance to meet fellow “pod-estrians.” Each pod includes a shelf and a personal television. Food staples, like cereal and ramen, and toiletries like toothpaste and toilet paper, are also included.
In Minneapolis, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,228, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $49,122. The average price of a home in Minneapolis is $250,779.
In Denver, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,725, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $68,983.
The average price of a home in Denver is $352,172.
In Boston, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $2,384, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $95,344.
The average price of a home in Boston is $486,752.
In San Francisco, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $5,052, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $202,094.
The average price of a home in San Francisco is $1,032,732.