The Washingtonian Magazine
reports in "Seller's Market
," that DC metropolitan area's hot real estate market--hot in Northern Virginia and DC in especially--is likely to remain so, in large part because the pipeline of new housing isn't very big, because of changes to the real estate financing and construction industry post- the 2008 real estate crash.
In DC in particular, most of the traditional single family housing opportunities have long since been built out, so mostly new owner-occupied housing will be condominiums in multi-unit buildings, located in mixed use developments on major commercial streets such as Wisconsin Avenue, Georgia Avenue, H Street NE, etc.
But getting zoning approvals, especially for projects that require public processes, is very difficult, and usually over time, projects get downsized some, as a way to provide some "give backs" in response to community opposition.
10 units here, 100 units there, 50 units here and 440 units over there, etc. and pretty soon the opportunity cost of lost housing production becomes significant.
Plus zoning regulations generally are focused on enabling the minimum for a particular property, not the best project. I think that the regulation process needs to be turned upside down, and refocused on enabling better projects, and making it a lot harder to get approvals for minimal projects.
1. When the new Safeway supermarket was constructed on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Glover Park, I said it was a waste of air space to not build some housing above. Given the location, it would have been in high demand for market rate housing.
That being said, Tesco Supermarkets in the UK has made the point that building housing above their supermarkets could be a good opportunity for the creation of lower priced workforce housing.
I made a similar point more recently with regard to a new Menards Home Center in Minot, North Dakota. See "Workforce housing and Menards, Minot, North Dakota
2. The same is true over the Giant Supermarket that is being constructed on Wisconsin Avenue in the Cathedral area. While they are constructing not quite 150 units of housing there--most will be rental at least initially, with some SFH rowhouses on a different part of the site--more housing could have been inserted onto the site.
3. The Walmart being constructed as a single use building on a 4 acre site at the corner of Georgia and Missouri Avenues NW. Earlier plans for the site were for a mixed use project with retail on the ground floor and more than 400 apartments above.
Building housing at that location, like the Wood Partners project on Rte. 1 in Fairfax County, the Beacon at Groveton
, or the impact of the construction of new housing (apartments) on top of the Petworth Metro Station a couple miles south on Georgia Avenue (at that particular location, Safeway's store is being redeveloped also, as part of a multistory development with a new store on the ground floor and housing above), could have had transformational positive impact on revitalization of Upper Georgia Avenue, by bringing more and new residents (and customers) to the corridor.
4. I found this story in the Washington Post
Real Estate section, "Calistoga project takes shape in Kalorama
," on a forthcoming upscale project in Kalorama pretty interesting. While they could have built up to 20 units, they decided to only build 9 units, with a car space for each. They set the number of units to the maximum number of parking spaces they could provide. I think that more units would have been better for the city, but it was a wash for the developer.
Labels: housing market, housing policy, real estate development