Report: Price of Housing in Twin Cities Region Skyrocketing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The price of housing in the seven-county Twin Cities region is more expensive than cities such as Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri, according to a newly released report using U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Family Housing Fund study indicated the region is on a path to becoming as costly as Denver or Seattle, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

The report found that there is a substantial lack of housing in the Twin Cities to accommodate a burgeoning workforce, which could impact economic progress over time.

In 1980, the McKnight Foundation and the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul initially established the Family Housing Fund to encourage the expansion of affordable housing in the two cities, according to the organization’s website.

Addressing a growing need for inexpensive housing in suburban communities, the fund officially extended its mission in 1997 to serve Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

In March, the housing advocacy group Minnesota Housing Partnership published a report that showed over 110,000 of Minnesota’s poorest households don’t have reasonable housing choices. Those options are defined as housing that costs 30% of household income or less.

Ellen Sahli, president of the Family Housing Fund, said 1 in 5 employees in the Twin Cities region pay over 30% of their income per month for a place to live.

"We are sounding the alarm," Sahli said. "Housing in the Twin Cities is less affordable than most realize, and if we don’t take action soon, our housing future is not pretty."

The housing deficit could result in 50,000 less jobs in the region in 20 years, according to the Family Housing Fund report.

"Affordable apartments are disappearing from our landscape, we have a dramatic shortage of entry level homes to purchase and at the same time, we have a projected economic growth that will bring 368,000 new workers to our region over the next 20 years," Sahli said.

Lisa Sturtevant, the author of the report and president of a housing consulting firm, noted there is a surplus of housing for those bringing in $85,800 or more.

"This is something we’ve seen in communities throughout the country, and we know that when the local workforce can’t find housing they can afford, the entire community suffers," Sturdevant said.

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