TMHA Attends Federal Reserve Finding Shelter Conference

On Friday, February 23, TMHA’s Executive Director, DJ Pendleton, and Vice-President of Operations, Rob Ripperda, attended the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Finding Shelter – Affordability Squeeze in a Tight Texas Housing Market conference in Dallas. The array of conference speakers ranged from academic Ph.D. economists, to real estate research firms, to various affordable housing program providers.

The main takeaway from the event was the simple fact that throughout Texas there is an affordable housing crisis. And the affordability problem is only getting worse.

Numerous presentations showed through hard data and facts the increasingly expensive Texas housing market, and what impacts this market is having on affordable housing.  During David Brown’s, Senior Vice-President of Metostudy, presentation he provided data that reinforced his assertion that new single-family home construction in Texas under $200,000 is “extinct,” and that new home construction under $250,000 is an “endangered species.”

However, the conference speakers and attendees were far from identifying a silver-bullet solution. As pointed out by Gary Maler, Director of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, in his closing remarks the issue of providing affordable housing in Texas is a complicated problem that will need complicated solutions.

From the TMHA perspective it was interesting to hear how many of the local issues that impose restrictions or burdens on providing manufactured homes are shared with other affordable housing providers. Time and again comments about zoning restrictions, density requirements, and local government aversion to affordable housing solutions based on NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard) were brought up by speakers and attendees throughout the day.

The current and growing need for a greater supply of affordable housing in Texas is undeniable. The data and trends paint a clear picture that something must be done. In the coming years affordable housing solutions through the greater use and acceptability of manufactured housing will play a key role is filling the widening gap. While the search for specific solutions is very much ongoing, the truth is that for those in the business of supplying affordable housing the demand for your housing is at all-time highs; and only expected to increase.