Real Estate

D Magazine: Dallas needs to step up its affordable housing game | 2018-10-08


One of the nation’s multifamily production leaders desperately needs to step up its affordable housing production.

According to a recent study from RentCafé, Dallas-Fort Worth delivered exclusively luxury multifamily units in the first half of 2018, and according to a report from D Magazine, the city is well behind its goal of adding 20,000 affordable housing units.

D Magazine says the city wants to add roughly 6,000 of those affordable units by next year, and it will need to step up its use of low-come housing tax credits to reach that number.

The deadline set forth for LIHTC applications in the housing policy passed in May is February of 2019, which is why this matter is becoming increasingly pressing for Dallas.

There is some movement within the development community and the City of Dallas staff to encourage and accelerate applications for LIHTC projects, and there are talks of letting developers know whether they will receive government support for their projects before February, which would take some of the stress out of the process for developers.

The issue is that haste may make waste. Though accelerating the application process and increasing the number of affordable projects in the pipeline is much needed change for the city’s lacking supply, it could cause some problems under the current housing policy.

According to D Magazine, under the current policy, streamlining the approval of 4% LIHTC projects could endanger the approval of a 9% LIHTC projects in February of next year.

If a 9% project is within three miles of a 4% project, it is penalized under state law.

The Dallas City Council’s Economic Development & Housing committee is going to meet on the 22nd of this month to discuss adjusting the housing policy to account for these concerns while still encouraging a healthy clip of affordable housing construction.

According to former CEO of the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and current chair of the city’s Housing Policy Taskforce Bill Hall, this initiative needs to do more than simply encourage affordable housing development, but to encourage developers to put those projects where they are needed most.

“Until we have housing opportunities throughout the city, close to where jobs are and close to where different schools are and greater opportunities of all means, we’re not going to be a strong city,” he told D Magazine.


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