Affordable By Design Could House the Middle Class

A great article from the National Housing Institute goes into a unique perspective on what prevents middle income housing from getting built. Writer Rick Jacobus says it’s not all anti-greed attitudes towards developers and zoning. Instead he proposes that the aesthetic design requirements also add complication and cost to developments.

Both Catellus and Tim Lewis are considering increased numbers of “affordable by design” housing in their newest developments. Sean Whiskeman noted at Monday’s planning board meeting that these units would be 800-1500 square feet and between 1-2 bedrooms. The idea is that the size and layouts would be designed in a way that keeps costs down and enables the developer to charge less. He even said that these homes would be in the $500,000 range. Time will tell whether that will bear out or if the market is so hot that those units end up in the much less affordable $600,000 range.

Previously these kinds of homes were called “work force housing”, however these units were still at market rate, which remains way above what’s affordable for many working families in the Bay Area. As our state continues to endure a housing shortage of crisis proportions more solutions to densify and increase overall housing numbers are desperately needed, as well as initiatives to change perspectives on new housing development.

Read Why Aren’t We Building Middle Income Housing here.

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