A new poll conducted by Morris Leatherman Company and commissioned by Housing First Minnesota asked Minnesotans for their opinions on housing and homeownership in the state. The following toplines showcase the survey’s results.
“Minnesotans are seeking more housing choices throughout the state,” said James Vagle, CEO of Housing First Minnesota. “Unfortunately, because of many outdated zoning laws and rules, homeowners aren’t given the option to build smaller homes on smaller lots that would allow many Minnesotans entry into homeownership.”
“The data is clear. At a time when many policy issues divide us, Minnesotans across the political spectrum support homeowner choice. There is a clear mandate for the Legislature to modernize our zoning laws in the upcoming legislative session.”
Affordability is the top concern for 21- to 34-year-olds looking to buy a home.
45% of 21- to 34-year-olds identify the lack of money for a down payment as the largest barrier, followed by poor credit at 14%. 47% of these folks are likely to receive financial assistance from family or loved ones, while 52% are not expecting financial assistance from family.
44% of all respondents believe that it is more difficult for young people to buy a home compared to the previous generation. 38% said it is about the same and 13% said it is easier.
Nearly 7 in 10 Minnesotans identify modernizing zoning as a high priority for the next legislative session.
When asked how the Minnesota Legislature should prioritize addressing housing challenges next year, 68% percent (including 65% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats and 67% of Independents) said modernizing zoning and regulatory reform need to be a top priority in 2024:
- 30% said modernizing zoning laws and regulations in ways that would allow for the creation of more new housing
- 38% said both more funding and modernizing laws
- 18% said more funding for housing
- 13% said to do nothing and see what the new funding does before taking additional steps
When asked how to best manage housing growth in Minnesota, a strong plurality, 49%, believe cities and growing townships should prioritize allowing a range of home types that more people can afford over allowing people in the neighborhoods to control the type of housing that is allowed near them (28%).
Duplexes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are popular.
56% of voters support allowing duplexes and accessory dwelling units on all properties zoned for single-family homes, nearly double those that oppose it (36%). 90% of supporters still backed the proposal even if it meant that a duplex or ADU would be next door to them.
Respondents support a variety of housing over community character and local government control.
When given three options about what zoning ordinances should prioritize, the plurality believes that allowing for a variety of housing in their community is more important than the community characteristics or control by city staff.
41% said zoning ordinances should prioritize allowing for a variety of housing types to help provide homebuyers and renters with more options 33% said zoning ordinances should prioritize the community characteristics that current residents most want. 19% said zoning ordinances should be determined by city and township staff with expertise in these areas.
Voters strongly support homeowners’ capabilities to make their own choices for aesthetic options.
Voters were asked whether the city council and their staff or homeowners and builders make the following decisions:
- 60% said homeowners and builders should choose the exterior of the home
- 79% said homeowners and builders should select window and gable styles
- 88% said homeowners and builders should choose whether a home has a deck
Voters Oppose Parking Requirements and Ban on Natural Gas in New Construction
- 55% of voters oppose local government mandates increasing the minimum number of garage stalls.
- 61% of voters oppose requiring all garages in new single-family homes to have electric vehicle chargers.
58% of voters oppose a ban on natural gas stoves, furnaces, water heaters in new construction.
Housing Shortage and Lacking Wages Contributing to Difficulties
94% of those who believe there is a housing shortage identified that shortage as either a very important or somewhat important factor in pushing up costs. Similarly, 97% agreed that wages aren’t keeping up with the inflation in housing costs.
About the poll
The poll was conducted in August 2023 and contains the results of a sample of 630 randomly selected adult residents in the State of Minnesota and a 350-balloon sample of 21- to 34-year-old residents. The results of the 630-person sample are projectable to all Minnesota residents within ± 4.0% in 95 out of 100 cases. The results of the 350-balloon sample are projectable to all 21- to 34-year-old residents within ±5.3 % in 95 out of 100 cases.