According to a report released in June by the National Association of Realtors in collaboration with the Rosen Consulting Group, the association is looking for a unique answer to tackle decades of underinvestment and under-construction in the housing market.
Since 2001, the country has had a shortage of between 5.5 million and 6.8 million housing units.
The report “Housing is a critical infrastructure: the social and economic benefits of building more living space” illuminates the causes of the housing shortage and offers possible solutions for federal and local politicians. The report describes America’s housing stock as “dire” – with a chronic shortage of affordable and available housing to feed the country’s population.
A serious shortage of new construction and persistent underinvestment have resulted in an acute shortage of available housing, which has adversely affected the health of the population and the economy and requires a broad national commitment to the construction of all types of housing.
The Santa Fe Association of Realtors agrees, and its board of directors adopted a white paper in June, entitled “Residential Properties in Santa Fe,” to identify local guidelines that can help elected officials create more housing. In the past, the association has supported a variety of local measures to increase housing construction, including:
• Create overlay districts that better direct growth, such as Midtown LINC.
• Innovative Inclusion Zone Forbearance.
• Local tax relief projects for low-income residential properties.
• Multi-family, inclusive zone changes.
• Promotion of additional housing units.
• Hotel conversions for residential construction
To create housing in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors® recommends:
• Strategic Access to Federal Housing For Housing: If the American Jobs Act is passed, concrete steps to remove unnecessary barriers to affordable housing should be a top priority for city and county governments to make the region eligible for federal funding comes. For decades, exclusive zoning laws – such as minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking regulations, and bans on multi-family houses – have driven up housing and construction costs and excluded families from areas with more options.
• Make effective use of urban and county land for housing: Urban and county land that can be developed for affordable housing should be strategically managed, developed, or donated to local housing authorities or nonprofits to better obtain tax credits for low-income housing; local, state, or state funding; and private funding.
• Promoting the development of the Midtown LINC and the Midtown Campus: The association encourages the city to promote redevelopment within the Midtown LINC by contacting economic development, especially for those institutions that have expressed interest and made suggestions as part of the RFEI process. The association urges the city to consider creating other similar Midtown LINC-style neighborhoods in other key areas of the city for better development or redevelopment.
• Involve the community when opportunity zone projects emerge: For this program to be a success, new developments funded by opportunity funds within the zones must be carefully selected, not just from investors, but also from the community Bring benefits.
• Adopted Santa Fe City and County Land Use Policy to Create Housing: The city and county have identified a number of proposed regulatory changes that could increase housing that should be seriously considered and implemented. Brokers, builders, architects, contractors, and home improvement should be hired to further improve land use laws.
• Look for alternative ways to use vacant hotels, motels and other existing properties for housing: Building on the hotel and motel conversions by the city and county during the pandemic, both jurisdictions should continue to examine and act if options for conversion arise existing real estate for which the aim is to provide affordable housing to those in need
• Creation of a residential incubator to foster innovation: Town and county, individually or jointly, should consider setting up a residential incubator to provide grants and funding to support solutions to meet the region’s growing housing needs.
To access a copy of the Santa Fe Homes White Paper, contact the association at [email protected]. The National Association of Realtors report can be found at nar.realtor/political-advocacy/housing-is-critical-infrastructure.
Paco Arguello is the executive director of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors®. Contact him at 982-8385 or [email protected].