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Escalating cost of living in Fort Worth


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#51 roverone

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Posted 21 October 2023 - 08:00 AM

I am ( perhaps thankfully) not particularly familiar with the range of powers of Home Owners Associations: if the city really did open up ADUs in all single-family zoning, could exiting and newly created HOAs override the homeowners freedom to allow it?



#52 Stadtplan

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Posted 21 October 2023 - 08:40 AM

I am ( perhaps thankfully) not particularly familiar with the range of powers of Home Owners Associations: if the city really did open up ADUs in all single-family zoning, could exiting and newly created HOAs override the homeowners freedom to allow it?

 

Interestingly enough, in California, they passed a bill blocking HOA's from interfering with the construction of and rental of ADU's by HOA's but are allowed to have "reasonable restrictions," I'm assuming perhaps impacting certain design choices, colors, maintenance etc.

 

Assembly Bill 670
To address these and even more concerns, the California state government passed Assembly Bill 670 in 2021, which prohibits HOAs from banning or restricting the construction of ADUs on their members’ properties. Though, HOAs may be able to impose reasonable restrictions on the people who wish to construct. The bill reads the following:
 
“This bill would make void and unenforceable any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of any interest in a planned development, and any provision of a governing document, that effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the construction or use of an accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit on a lot zoned for single-family residential use that meets the above-described minimum standards established for those units. However, the bill would permit reasonable restrictions that do not unreasonably increase the cost to construct, effectively prohibit the construction of, or extinguish the ability to otherwise construct, an accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit consistent with those aforementioned minimum standards provisions.”
 
According to this law, even if HOAs are not permitted to interfere with the construction of an Accessory Dwelling Unit, as long as it does not affect the timeline or cost of the ADU, they are allowed to have reasonable restrictions.
 
Another point that AB670 highlights is that HOAs can’t impede the usage of ADUs for rental purposes.
 


#53 Austin55

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Posted 04 January 2024 - 04:54 PM

A couple of outlets are covering a City proposal to eliminate the developers from using the payment option for in leui of providing affordable housing in NEZ areas. 

 

https://fortworthrep...rdable-housing/

 

https://www.wfaa.com...rdable-housing/



#54 roverone

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Posted 04 January 2024 - 09:41 PM

It seems like the developer's economic choices speak for themselves and it is more favorable for them to just pay in -- so that number needs to be adjusted.

 

But more to the point, it seems like we spend too much time talking about "affordability" and not enough time talking about the real reason that prices are high -- in any "market" scarcity of something in demand drives up prices.

 

We just need more, and it doesn't matter too much what the more consists of:  If someone built 20,000 $2M homes in Fort Worth, in the not too long term it would create more "affordable " housing -- because that extra inventory would flood the market, and some subset of people would move to those new homes, freeing up their current homes, and people would move to them, freeing up their homes, and so on.  Eventually creating a full pyramid of housing that includes some that was more affordable than before, because there would not be the scarcity that there was before.

 

Also, I don't think that our city, which endures all kinds of complications of being in a region with so many other cities, should think we need to work alone to solve a housing crisis -- the burden should be shared with all of our neighboring cities.  I don't know what the gold star we get on our report card looks like if we become the affordable housing champion of the metroplex when neighboring more-affluent-per-capita cities are running away with all of the corporate relocations.

 

What we need is a good and proper balance at every strata, with offerings for a mix of economic levels, and making sure we have enough of an economic engine to fuel them.



#55 Crestline

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Posted 05 January 2024 - 07:51 AM

It seems like the developer's economic choices speak for themselves and it is more favorable for them to just pay in -- so that number needs to be adjusted.

 

But more to the point, it seems like we spend too much time talking about "affordability" and not enough time talking about the real reason that prices are high -- in any "market" scarcity of something in demand drives up prices.

 

I think there's significant tension between the first line of your post and the rest—in the rest, you recognize the dire scarcity of housing, which I agree with. But in the first line I think you propose to increase the regulatory cost of building more housing, which would worsen the scarcity crisis, all other things being equal. Right? You don't write "that number needs to be adjusted" upward so the developers have to pay more, but I think that's what you mean. If I haven't misunderstood your post, how do you resolve this tension?



#56 roverone

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Posted 05 January 2024 - 09:39 AM

For sure they are two different thoughts -- the article read as if there was some kind of build incentive, but I don't know what that actually is.  I was mostly poking at them not thinking through the numbers correctly if they were actually trying to incentivize building a particular product and they obviously low-balled that number if they were going to accomplish what they were trying to do.

 

You are spot-on that I don't agree with their methodology to solve the inventory problem, and they should not be dictating what is built there, but rather just that something is built at all.



#57 Crestline

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Posted 05 January 2024 - 10:13 AM

For sure they are two different thoughts -- the article read as if there was some kind of build incentive, but I don't know what that actually is.  I was mostly poking at them not thinking through the numbers correctly if they were actually trying to incentivize building a particular product and they obviously low-balled that number if they were going to accomplish what they were trying to do.

 

You are spot-on that I don't agree with their methodology to solve the inventory problem, and they should not be dictating what is built there, but rather just that something is built at all.

 

Thanks, that makes sense!

 

Yeah, I thought the article language about the incentive was pretty goofy:

 

City ordinance currently offers incentive packages for developers looking to build in these zones by requiring them to either set aside 20% of the proposed units for low-income tenants or pay $200 per unit for five years to the Fort Worth Housing Finance Corp. to opt out. 

 

Lol, what?



#58 Stadtplan

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Posted 05 January 2024 - 03:17 PM

I guess this also brings up the old topic of "The Poor Door" on some of these fancier developments / high rises.



#59 Crestline

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Posted 06 January 2024 - 07:47 AM

I guess this also brings up the old topic of "The Poor Door" on some of these fancier developments / high rises.

 

I swear I've read about poor doors in class-segregated Victorian England, but after five minutes of Internet searching all I can find are 21st-century affordable housing examples and 20th-century race-segregated Jim Crow examples. Weird; I'm sure class-segregated poor doors aren't a new thing, right?

 

Separately: when we read about "affordable housing" development in Fort Worth, does that always refer to housing eligible for vouchers from Fort Worth Housing Solutions? Or can it have a different meaning in some context?



#60 roverone

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Posted 07 January 2024 - 11:06 AM

I think we use language that makes it seem like it is developers’ faults that there is not less expensive housing — I guess it is easier to characterize the problem as some kind of corporate greed instead of simply the ordinary economic incentive of making investment decisions.

 
It seems to me that everything being built is “affordable” or we would not have an inventory shortage — it is just not affordable for everyone.  Almost nothing is affordable by everyone.  For sure that inventory shortage is making it all seemingly way too high, another reason we can all get behind this idea that someone must be greedy in all of this.
 
Part of this is that we obviously need to do something to increase the opportunities for higher wage employment — that is part of the machinery of a healthy city’s economic engine, and it means figuring out how to shore that employment up at every level, since every earner (the higher the better) is also a consumer that can help activate our economy.
 
Still, there will always be some portion of the population that because of health circumstances or family responsibilities or a shortfall of earlier education / training are unable to have employment or to have employment that is skilled enough to rise above supply to be valued with higher wages.
 
It seems that from basic human kindness everyone deserves to have the dignity of a roof over their head in a clean and safe place, and the city / county / state / federal government is going to have to come up with dollars to do that for them.
 
It is always going to come down to coming up with the dollars to meet these people’s needs.
 
I’m not a housing developer, but it seems like there are a limited number of ways that they could be encouraged to build differently when the demand is so high and the inventory is so low that they can build units that bring them a good return on their investment:
 
They can be provided financial / tax incentives to offset the income they would make from full-rate units.
 
There could be some kind of risk reduction by some entity guaranteeing the income (not necessarily an incentive if the demand is already high enough and the risk low)
 
There could be some kind of zoning requiring smaller units (doesn’t guarantee cheeper rent)
 
The city could allow building in places that could not otherwise be built, while meeting pricing requirements.
 
They could just strong-arm developers and not give them permits for projects that don’t meet the city’s needs.
 
Stepping back, this is not really about developers at all, but rather about the folks who finance the projects and what kind of return can the developers show on their projects.  Given our regionalized nature, if the profit can’t be made in our city, developers can go down the street to a different jurisdiction and build there.
 
To meet the housing needs, maybe the housing entity needs to be willing to directly help with the financing of projects.  If corporations can be buying up / building homes for rental, can the housing entity participate in that — and choose to forgo the same profit as commercial investors?
 
And as I have mentioned before, I think it is extremely important that the entire DFW area somehow work together — maybe be required to work together — to participate in the housing needs. If not physically, then at least fully pay their fair share.  I am genuinely concerned that there is no way to solve this in a piecemeal way.  If the city of Fort Worth came up with the most socially conscious, generous housing policy in the state, I don’t know how neighboring communities would not directly or indirectly take advantage of our goodwill and encourage folks to come to take advantage of it.
 
We need to encourage in every way we can businesses that need high wage employees so we can rev-up our economic engine and have more funds to pay for things like this housing.
 
What do I mean?  This is a gross over simplification and these numbers might not be spot-on, but let’s just look at the two biggest cities in DFW:
 
City of Fort Worth 2024 budget:  $2.6 billion
City of Fort Worth 2024 population estimate: 975,351
City of Fort Worth budget per person: $2,665.71
 
City of Dallas 2024 budget:  $4.63 billion
City of Dallas 2024 population estimate: 1,245,124
City of Dallas budget per person: $3,718.51
 
It seems that Dallas has an extra $1,052.80 per person flowing around their city budget for folks.
 
I know that those budget dollars come from a lot of places, so it is never a completely fair comparison.
 
I’m not exactly sure what story that tells, but as the bigger cities we probably have more people in need of services than the smaller / newer / more affluent cities in DFW.  But if there are occasions when we think we are behind on city services, there is a reason.
 
From my limited understanding, a part of that is that our city does not have the right balance of business and residential sources of tax revenue.  So at the same time we might be asking where are our public / private deck-park-like projects, we are a paying (a little) more in taxes as residents.


#61 mmmdan

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Posted 07 January 2024 - 08:38 PM

 

I think we use language that makes it seem like it is developers’ faults that there is not less expensive housing — I guess it is easier to characterize the problem as some kind of corporate greed instead of simply the ordinary economic incentive of making investment decisions.

 
It seems to me that everything being built is “affordable” or we would not have an inventory shortage — it is just not affordable for everyone.  Almost nothing is affordable by everyone.  For sure that inventory shortage is making it all seemingly way too high, another reason we can all get behind this idea that someone must be greedy in all of this.
 
Part of this is that we obviously need to do something to increase the opportunities for higher wage employment — that is part of the machinery of a healthy city’s economic engine, and it means figuring out how to shore that employment up at every level, since every earner (the higher the better) is also a consumer that can help activate our economy.
 
Still, there will always be some portion of the population that because of health circumstances or family responsibilities or a shortfall of earlier education / training are unable to have employment or to have employment that is skilled enough to rise above supply to be valued with higher wages.
 
It seems that from basic human kindness everyone deserves to have the dignity of a roof over their head in a clean and safe place, and the city / county / state / federal government is going to have to come up with dollars to do that for them.
 
 

 

 

To pick on the first part of what you said, another way to make things affordable is to pay people more.  Several years ago, the company I work for started outsourcing non-core tasks like trash collection.  Sanitation services used to be done by people that actually worked for the company.  I remember early career people being amazed that the person that went around and picked up their trash made more than them.  But this person had 30+ years with the company.  That position most likely also came with benefits like sick time, vacation, 401k/pension.

 

Now that the job has been outsourced, you know those people aren't making anywhere near the salary or benefits.  They simply can't, because it has to be cheaper for my company to hire another company to do a job that they used to pay people to do.  And the company they hired has to make a profit on their employee's labor.

 

Back in the day, being loyal to a company lead to a good chance that you could live what was considered a middle class lifestyle, which included being able to afford a house.



#62 Doohickie

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Posted 08 January 2024 - 07:56 AM

A nice little house went on the market a couple blocks from me.  They are asking more than 2X what we paid 6 years ago, on a square foot basis, and about 1.5 times what we we paid straight up, for a house that's about 3/4 the size of our house.


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#63 elpingüino

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Posted 31 May 2024 - 06:26 PM

An estimated 26% of Fort Worth's single family homes are owned by companies, city says

#64 TLA

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Posted 01 June 2024 - 07:30 AM

An estimated 26% of Fort Worth's single family homes are owned by companies, city says


Glad they wrote an article on this.

A common complaint I hear from my millennial cohort is ‘Blackstone owns all the housing’. There’s certainly some institutional investors with skin in the game. Blackstone did formerly own Invitation Homes, one of the largest SFH renters in the country and now own a rival. People may just fixate on a simplistic answer with private equity being the boogeyman. Rather than fixing our zoning practices at a local level. Research appears to institutional investors aren’t driving the housing affordability crisis as much as Reddit experts would have you think. Jerusalem Demsas in The Atlantic has covered research on the relation of homelessness and housing affordability.

That 26% includes people without a homestead, primary address doesn’t match the house address, and folks with a trust. This is all anecdotal, but I know a relative who hasn’t filed the Homestead Exemption after pushing them last year, I know many homes in Fairmount held in trusts, I’ve met several people who’s parents own homes they live in as an investment, and then of course people who have moved with jobs, then just rent out their house.

#65 Doohickie

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Posted 03 June 2024 - 11:33 AM

When we moved in, our neighbor across the street grew up in that house across from us.  He inherited it from his parents jointly with his brother, but due to a disagreement with his brother who refused to sign the paperwork, he was never able to get a homestead exemption.  He's since passed on and someone else bought the house.

 

I know of a woman in the neighborhood who's husband retired from GM, and has since passed away.  Her income depends in part on a number of rental homes they bought over the years (three or four).  I'm not sure if they're held in a trust, or she's incorporated or what.  But even the people who think corporate ownership of single family homes should be limited would probably agree that she's not the situation they're upset about.

 

Without reading the Atlantic article, I think the fact that there is corporate money in the housing market does elevate the prices; it's simple economics- the increased "demand" created by having more buyers in the market pushes prices up.


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#66 TLA

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Posted 03 June 2024 - 10:15 PM

I agree. The 26% needed context, but I can believe even a small amount of corporate money will drive prices up. Which also could feed into bad zoning practices. A corporation lobbying for reduced supply is a scary thought.

Regarding your neighbor. That seems like the ideal type of landlord - someone local with strong community roots.. I don’t plan on selling my house. If I ever move I’ll hopefully rent this one out and take pride in that.

#67 Doohickie

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Posted 04 June 2024 - 05:54 AM

Yeah the first house they bought, they intended to live there.  Then they decided it was too close to I-20 so they moved a few blocks north, but managed to keep the other house and rent it out; she still owns that original house.  Then they bought another couple of houses.  She's aging now and has been living with cancer for a while.  She said she and her husband did most of the upkeep on the houses, and she continued to do so even after he passed away, but she just doesn't have the stamina anymore and she has to hire out the work now.


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