Housing construction is booming in Minnesota. Yet much of that new construction is likely to be out of reach for low-income Minnesotans in need of homes they can afford, finds the latest 2x4 Report, released today. The 2x4 has also been redesigned with updated content with this release.
From the data in this June issue, several industry indicators spell good news for current owners and developers. However, the report is a reminder that renters and the homeless are still struggling, as average rents crossed the $1,000 mark in the Twin Cities for the first time, and homelessness for students rose higher.
The May meeting of the Minnesota Housing board covered outcomes from the 2014 legislative session, most importantly the $100 million in bonding for housing passed by the Minnesota Legislature. In addition, the board listened to a presentation on key housing trends, as well as a report on comments received about the upcoming 2015 Affordable Housing Plan, which serves as the annual business or work plan for the Agency.
The April meeting of the Minnesota Housing board included approval of several new pilot programs: two to reduce disparities in home ownership, and one to provide rental assistance to young families in Hennepin County who have experienced homelessness. The final point scoring criteria for Low Income Housing Tax Credits were also finalized, taking into account thoughtful public comments.
All over the news are reports about the rental vacancy rate in the Twin Cities hovering around 2%. When a "balanced" market is considered to have vacancy rates of 5%, this current metro situation translates to a tight rental market. But what about the rest of state? Across Minnesota, we are seeing indications that the supply of rental housing is not keeping up with demand, for all but very high income households. The problem is particularly serious in Greater Minnesota communities experiencing robust job growth.