Spotlight on Texas: America’s Housing Crisis Comes to the Sun Belt

  • Speakers:
    Mahesh Aiyer, Director, Citi Community Capital
    Steffen Fuchs, Senior Partner, Dallas, McKinsey & Company
    Kourtney Garrett, CEO and President, Downtown Dallas Inc
    Eric Johnson, Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services, City of Dallas
  • Moderator:
    Catherine Cuellar, Director of Communications, Outreach and Marketing, City of Dallas

5 Key Takeaways

  • 1. The lack of affordable housing units is not solely a housing issue, but is closely tied with the economy: The lack of affordable housing affects all segments of community life and is intertwined with a city’s economy and growth. Incomes are not keeping pace with housing cost increases. Dr. Eric Anthony Johnson explains that if people spend the bulk of their money on housing, they are in a weaker position to support their communities and local economy.
  • 2. The historical context of Texas, and more specifically Dallas, is crucial to understanding the housing stock and informing the strategic planning of its city. Its history as an economic and entertainment hub with minimal residential buildings, the savings and loan crisis, and a portion of the housing stock going offline in the 00s all contribute to Dallas‘s low housing stock. All of which translate into an affordability problem, and the reason 60% of residents rent and not own. The challenge has been met with adaptive reuse projects, as explained by Kourtney Garret, to rebuild the housing stock.
  • 3. There are many financial tools available to diversify the housing stock. Financing tools such as tax exempt bond investment, tax increment financing, low income rates, income averaging, and mixed income housing have helped the supply move in the right direction, explains Mahesh Ayer. Public-private partnerships are also essential to ..
  • 4. Development approval processes must be more efficient to allow creative development solutions to flourish. To simplify approval processes, reducing time, uncertainty, and complexity would allow more housing to be built, Steffen Fuchs argues. This lengthy processing time blocks innovation by inhibiting the ability to scale creative ideas. Panelists reasoned for a ‘production‘ mindset over a ‘construction‘ mindset moving forward, to reduce barriers and facilitate/offer mixed use development.
  • 5. A new class of shared-value perspective developers would contribute to inclusive growth. It‘s time for a new class of residential developers who hold a shared-value perspective, and serve to address growing social and economic challenges expresses Dr. Eric Anthony Johnson. We do not have to innovate what we do, but how we do it and how we put it together in an integrative way, to be collectively executed between different city elements.

Featured photo by Christopher Lin on Unsplash