Will Increasing Density Allow Houston to Better House its Middle Class?

In order to facilitate the construction of more workforce housing, Houston is considering changing its development rules for the first time in 14 years. Will increasing density limits in the "doughnut" beyond Loop 610 help bring down prices?

"In seeking the first fundamental changes to Houston's development rules in 14 years, city officials stress that the revisions will produce more workforce housing, giving middle-class families an affordable alternative to the suburbs," report Mike Morris and Nancy Sarnoff.

"The proposed changes would allow greater housing density outside Loop 610, enabling builders to fit more houses on the same piece of land, bringing down the price of each home. However, the cost of land is key, experts say, and getting land cheap enough to produce middle-income housing in areas where people want to live will be difficult."

However, note Morris and Sarnoff, "Industry experts said any steps to lower housing prices are worth pursuing."

"'If it doesn't get all the way down in the workforce housing category, still, more townhouses or multifamily housing in the $250,000 to $300,000 range will make living in the city more available to more people,' said Matthew Festa, of South Texas College of Law, whose research focuses on land use."

Full Story: Development rules change targets housing

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