2:Control the land ✓
3: De-regulate ✓
Part 4: Develop and Finance
Ambitious goals to meet! So, there’s no time to lose! It’s time to build!
Politicians like to think that low interest mortgages, tax deferral schemes, first-time home buyer plans, and high ratio mortgages help make housing more affordable. All of this political candy just leads to increased demand! Increased demand drives prices higher!
Stimulating supply is more difficult than giving popular handouts to individual taxpayers . With no voter payola, it requires political courage to promote development. Deregulation reduces costs for planning and land carry. Up-zoning allows for increased housing density. Both of tactics accelerate private development. In turn, this should speed up receipt of Targeted Housing development fees.
I have made the case for municipally owned and controlled land banks . Authorities should devote government subsidies and Targeted Housing development fees to:
Targeted Housing means social, affordable, and family housing
What comes to mind when I say affordable housing? The banlieues in Paris? Tower blocks in London? Ghettos for low income families? Postal codes and street addresses should not be indicators of financial means. Targeted Housing Mixed projects should be everywhere. Mixed income neighbourhoods are more vibrant and make for safer cities.
Contrary to popular opinion, high-rise development is not the answer to the housing crisis. These projects are longer in planning, pre-development, and construction. The long development cycles cause supply to consistently trail demand. And, when this happens prices continue to increase.
Ideally, there should be a mix of building types with different production cycles. I would focus on projects ready for occupancy within 24 months or less from the start of construction. This link to Architect Daily shows sixty examples of social housing projects around the world.
“High-rise towers, concrete towers that have to go four storeys underground and take five, six years to build, they’re higher-risk developments and they’re very expensive, so we have to try and figure out how to do infill cheaply and get as many properties built as possible.”Ben Myers, Bullpen Research and Consulting Inc.
Project development and ownershipcan take many forms:
There are different structural issues and options related to each form of development and ownership. I will address these in a future issue.
Housing affordability and shortages! Homelessness and tent villages! These issues dominate the headlines. There is consensus that housing supply has not kept up with demand caused by immigration and new household formation. The need is urgent. It is time to stop talking. It’s time to build.
I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]
Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]
We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie and Norry Wilson. So, we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]
Vienna on top again. This week both Monocle Magazine and The Economist unveiled their quality of life / most liveable city indexes. There are differences in the way each publication sets its index. So it is even more impressive that once again, Vienna tops both lists. I am a bit lazy today so rather than […]
Many Viennese went from hot bedding to superblocks overnight. Could they even imagine an apartment complex 1000 metres long built along two streets with even more massive landscaped courtyards? Could they conceive of 1400 apartment units built to house 5000 people on 56,000 square metres or 38 acres of land. Or a vertical build-out that […]
Vienna had been a poor city even before the First World War. “Normal” housing arrangements meant six to eight people sharing one room and a kitchen. Then, in early 1919, just after the Armistice, the cost of living tripled in two months. Bed lodgers could no longer afford their 8-hours a day in a shared […]