What is Housing Affordability and Why is it Needed for NM Small Businesses?
New Mexico is in a housing crisis. This housing crisis is not just measured by the number of unhoused people on the streets but also by an unprecedented increase in rent prices and bidding wars for homes, affecting both small business owners and employees. Rising housing costs puts wage pressure on those businesses, negatively impacting local, economic development.
- In Albuquerque between 2021 and 2022, the average rent increased 16.76% and now sits at $1,235.
- In 2020, 22.7% of multifamily rental units rented for more than $2,000 per month, compared to just 12.3% in 2017. Nearly half of Albuquerque renters are “cost-burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
- The real estate market is currently seeing multiple offers on homes with people paying over list price, and newly-listed single-family homes going under contract in just 13 days.
- CABQ estimates a need for 15,500 new affordable housing units to meet the needs of the growing and diversifying population.
- Though the large unhoused population affects Albuquerque’s livability, housing is not just an issue of people that are unhoused. Albuquerque has a rapidly changing demographic and diverse business makeup. Our residential base is getting younger and more diverse, a population that is seeking a different type of housing, one that is more urban and accessible. And they need housing that fits their budget.
- The New Mexico Department of Workforce solutions reports that from February 2019 to February 2020, 12,000 new jobs were created in the state (2020 New Mexico Affordable Housing Needs Assessment).
More simply said, we have more people than homes in our city.
What can we do to solve the housing crisis?
SEED NM along with many small businesses feel that the Housing Forward ABQ initiative would be a significant step towards improving housing affordability.
In 2019, the City of Albuquerque commissioned an Urban Institute study on the need for affordable housing. The findings were the basis of Housing Forward ABQ, a program aimed at addressing Albuquerque’s housing crisis. What emerged was a clear strategy for Albuquerque to address its housing crisis and a plan to improve its housing situation into the future.
Housing Forward ABQ has a goal to create 5,000 new units of housing by 2025. It seeks to do so by:
- Converting motel and hotels and commercial office spaces to long-term housing units. Promoting allowance for and development of “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) or “casitas” as we know them locally, in established residential areas.
- Encouraging development of more mixed-income and market-rate housing, expanding the “missing middle” sector of rentals and owned homes.
- Increasing tenant protections to promote housing access and encourage owners to set affordable rental rates and fees.
- Expanding and training a robust housing workforce capable of building the new housing Albuquerque will need going forward.
Housing Forward ABQ is a roadmap to Albuquerque’s housing future—a future where both workers and business owners can afford to live in a home, on an average income, and where diverse communities continue to live and contribute to one another – side by side. Creating a city we can share and pass on to future generations.
CABQ is engaging the business community and small developers, contractors, and others involved in real estate to address this ongoing issue to ensure that the efforts are truly working toward a viable solution for our community members.
What is CABQ’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) and how is it limiting the increase of housing units we need?
SEED NM and our members are working to remove the current zoning obstacles which affect our local housing supply.
- 63% of all housing in ABQ is single-family detached.
- 68% of all properties zoned for development are R-1, meaning only single-family homes can be built, with one unit intended per lot.
- Removing barriers to construction and renovation of more diverse housing options is critical.
- Proposed changes are modest and reasonable compared to many similar efforts in other cities and states.
The city has committed to continually improving the IDO through an annual update process. To date, this process has been:
- In October 2022, CABQ Staff, via support from Housing Forward, submitted proposed changes into the City’s review / decision process.
- In November 2022, the Mayor and City Council proposed changes into the City’s review/decision process as an Ordinance (O-22-54).
- The review/decision process has three steps:
- Step 1: Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) – COMPLETE
- Step 2: City Council’s Land Use, Planning, and Zoning (LUPZ) Committee – COMPLETE
- Step 3: Approval by City Council- Ordinance scheduled to be heard 6/5/23
How can you get involved?
- Attend City Council meetings and testify to convey support! The voices of small business owners and solopreneurs have a strong impact. https://www.cabq.gov/council/events
- Tell us your housing story to be shared on social media and with ABQ City Councilors. https://seednm.org/housing-affordability-story-drive-form/
- Write in to support the proposed changes to your City Council Member. Find Your Councilor
- Follow SEED NM to help in the future efforts in housing affordability and other issues. https://seednm.org/get-involved/