Housing challenges remain as metro area growth continues

The Metropolitan Council has issued preliminary population growth estimates for the suburbs, including 11% growth in Plymouth, 8.2% growth in Bloomington, 7.8% growth in Brooklyn Park and 9.6% growth in Edina. The population growth is outpacing residential construction and the availability of affordable housing. (Submitted image)

Affordable housing is in high demand with the population and housing costs increasing in the Twin Cities metro area. The Metropolitan Council tracks the regions that have added the most people since 2010. 

According to Met Council data, the highest population increase was 15% in Lakeville, which raises the concern for the amount of housing that is affordable to everyone.

“Steady growth is a sign of our diverse and competitive economy and livable cities. But the challenge remains of ensuring housing and affordable housing is available to all families,” said Council Chair Nora Slawik, in a council newsletter.

The median household income of the region’s homeowners in 2011-2015 is 6% higher than in 1990 while housing costs increased by 8%, according to the Met Council data. The region’s renters experienced a 13% decline in household income while housing costs increased 3% since 2000.

The result is an increased risk of housing cost burden where households spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs alone.

Since 2000, the number of households undergoing severe housing cost burden increased by 66%.

“This is why the council and local governments work together to plan for the region’s future. What’s important for the region is the ability to have the services and infrastructure in place, like roads and sewers, to be able to accommodate growth,” said Bonnie Kollodge, media relations coordinator for the Met Council.

Population growth in local areas such as Plymouth, Brooklyn Park and Edina is driving the growth of programs to increase the amount of affordable housing.

Plymouth housing

The city of Plymouth experienced an 11% population growth and contributes to nearly one-third of the region’s growth, according to the Met Council data

The city’s 2040 comprehensive plan stated the cost of land in Plymouth will make it increasingly difficult to add affordable housing with single-family homes.

Currently, 18% of Plymouth households are housing cost-burdened. To mitigate the high cost of housing, the city offers housing programs that aid low-income residents.

The first-time homebuyer program assists low and moderate income families in purchasing homes within the city. The program provides assistance with down payments, closing costs and mortgage principal reduction.

Section 8 Rent Assistance assists families wanting to rent in the area and requires a 30% monthly income payment.

“We have never had enough affordable housing, but the extent of the problem is getting worse. A contributing factor of housing that is affordable is that fewer resources from the federal government are available,” said Kollodge.

To offset this, the city gives higher priority to projects that provide affordable housing and is currently working on long-term affordability.

Edina housing

According to the Met Council, Edina had a 9.6% increase in population from 2010-2018.

The city and its housing and redevelopment authority recognize the need to provide a range of affordable housing choices for those who live or work in the city, stated in city policy.

The city is making efforts to guarantee affordable housing in Edina. This is addressed through the 2015 affordable housing policy.

New multi-family rental developments must provide a minimum of 10% of residential units to those with income at or below 50% of the area median income or 20% residential units with income at or below 60% of the area median income, according to the policy.

“We are continually looking for ways to preserve existing affordable housing and expand the supply,” said Stephanie Hawkinson, affordable housing development manager for the city.

Brooklyn Park housing

With a 7.8% population growth, Brooklyn Park’s population is expected to reach up to 97,900 people, with nearly 35,000 households, by 2040.

City officials say they are fully committed to developing innovative new housing strategies and opportunities to address and collaboratively meet the needs of the region.

The goal of the housing plan is to develop an adequate supply of quality and affordable housing options and preserve the existing housing stock.

“Brooklyn Park continues to be an affordable place to live. According to the metropolitan council data, approximately 80% of the existing housing stock is affordable,” stated the city’s housing policy.

Overview

The Met Council collaborates with home building companies, including Ron Clark Construction, CommonBond Communities and Aeon Home Building, that work with communities and local governments to provide housing and housing that is affordable.

“More families than ever are struggling to find a place to live that they can afford and homelessness is on the rise. Aeon is committed to increasing the production of affordable homes through partnerships with the government, business, and nonprofit sectors, and hundreds of generous donors and investors,” said Blake Hopkins, Aeon’s vice president of housing development.

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