Zoning Reform Is Working in Minneapolis

The city has grown its housing stock and limited rent cost increase to just 1 percent.

1 minute read

January 9, 2024, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Sunset view of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skyline.

Scruggelgreen / Adobe Stock

Minneapolis zoning reforms had a rough go of it in 2023, but data from the last several years reveal that the city’s efforts to change restrictive land use policies have resulted in a 12 percent increase in the city’s housing stock—and just a 1 percent growth in rent costs, compared to a 14 percent jump in the rest of Minnesota. “In fact, the city has the slowest rent-growth rate among the country’s major growing municipalities,” according to Route Fifty’s Molly Bolan.

“Policies around parking and permitting near commercial areas and public transit were the two most important steps in encouraging housing construction,” Alex Horowitz, director of Pew Charitable Trusts’ housing policy team, told Route Fifty. These policies led to almost 21,000 new permitted housing units.

“Surprisingly, eliminating single-family zoning and allowing two-to-four-unit buildings on all residential lots in the city—the policy that garnered the most attention nationwide—accounted for only 1% of new permits.” However, Horowitz points out that these reforms will also help increase the housing stock over a longer term.

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