Preserving Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing

As developers across the country increasingly recognize the market advantages of redevelopment oriented around transit, and property values rise in response, hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing are at risk.

Federal rental subsidy contracts affect the affordability of a quarter of a million apartments within walking distance of transit nationwide, and advocates fear owners may opt out of those contracts to take advantage of rising values, forcing out their vulnerable tenants.

There are efforts underway, however, to help preserve affordability near transit, writes Michael Bodaken. In Seattle, Denver, and Atlanta, community development corporations, equipped with good data and flexible financing are working to acquire, preserve, and maintain affordable housing near transit.

"In an environment where resources are scant, preservation becomes a critical priority, as well as an attractive option. Preserving an existing home is significantly less expensive than constructing new affordable housing. Rehabilitating an existing affordable apartment can cost one-third less than building a new apartment. In more expensive communities with high land costs, the cost of building new affordable housing could be as much as double the cost of preserving existing housing."

Thanks to Matthew Brian Hersh

Full Story: Transit-Oriented Preservation



Transit-Oriented Preservation

This is a very important discussion and the article provides some good ideas about how to preserve affordable housing near transit. One missing idea, however, is to recapture the higher land values near transit that are threatening housing affordability. These higher land values, created by the public through the provision of transit services, often end up as windfall profits for nearby landowners.

Some jurisdictions, however, recapture these higher land values through value capture techniques. By returning these publicly-created land values to the public, they can be used to help keep transit affordable and to keep nearby housing affordable as well. Some value capture techniques can actually help reduce both the cost of land and buildings at the same time.

An article on this topic can be found at

For more information, see

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