By Phil Crone
Executive Officer, Dallas Builders Association
Dallas and surrounding areas have obviously experienced remarkable growth over the last few years, especially with commercial construction and multifamily. Residential development struggles to keep pace with builders primarily focusing on infill lots and small-scale, shared access projects. Dallas permitted just over 2,000 homes last year and is on track for a similar figure in 2019.
Dallas is also not exempt from the impact of rising housing costs. It is well documented that the city needs 20,000 affordable housing units. In the single-family context, new affordable housing needs to be priced around $250,000 to $350,000. Getting there is especially difficult in Dallas, with land prices and, in some cases, neighborhood opposition to new affordable homes.
While some factors are out of our control, we need to take ownership of what we can. The stakes are too high not to. Homeownership remains the number one path to wealth creation for the American family, and the attainability of that dream here in D/FW remains a primary impetus to job creation. However, for too many people, homeownership is becoming less attainable, the drive to work is getting longer, and the options for safe, quality homes at a reasonable price are getting fewer.
A major barrier to affordable housing in Dallas is the city itself. Development processes are not operating as efficiently and effectively as they should. Attempts to build attainable housing suffer disproportionately from these unforced errors.
This is not a new issue. Builders, developers, and small business owners have bemoaned Dallas’s lack of transparency and predictability for years, yet Dallas has succeeded in spite of itself.