For its November meeting, the Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability heard from testifiers from Greater Minnesota about the housing pains they are feeling.
David Dunn, housing director of the Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), shared how the lack of new homes being built in Rochester is having a profound impact on the opportunities for homeownership in the region.
Additionally, he citied how starter home values are “soaring”, pricing families out. Representative Shane Mekeland (Becker, R) agreed, emphasizing the need to build more smaller modest single-family homes all throughout the state.
Additional testimony was given by Don Dabbert, Jr. on behalf of the Fargo-Moorhead Homebuilders Association. “We cannot spend out way out of this crisis. We need to reduce the barriers to affordable construction,” said Dabbert.
He went on to showcase the price differences between the Fargo, North Dakota side of the border and the Moorhead, Minnesota side stating that the Legislature has a major role in addressing the disparities. He called for reexamining provisions of the building and energy codes, modest densification, zoning reform and rethinking of how we plan communities.
In response to the testimony presented throughout the meeting, Senator Rich Draheim (Madison Lake, R) stated, “The free market is there and they want to build. The best thing we can do is get out of the way and let them build.”
The Legislative Commission is expected to meet again on December 14. Follow @HFMNAdvocacy for frequent legislative updates.