Miami seeks new debt package to finance affordable housing: Bloomberg

Other cities in the U.S. have come up with innovative solutions to cope with inventory and affordability issues

The mayor of Miami-Dade County wants to leverage the bond market to create a fund that will finance affordable housing projects, according to a Bloomberg report published Monday. 

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava will propose a new property tax-backed debt package later this year that would raise $2.5 billion to cope with the local housing crisis. Out of the $2.5 billion, $800 million would be allocated to affordable housing projects, while the rest would be used to improve area parks, sewage systems and roads.

Over the past five years, home prices in the Miami area have surged by 82%, according to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Additionally, the cost of homeowners insurance has dramatically increased in Florida as insurance companies have grappled with significant losses due to an increase in natural disasters. The average cost of a policy in Florida increased by 40% in 2023 alone, according to a report by Redfin.

Levine Cava aims to prioritize projects that enhance urban density while also tapping into county land for “massive property development,” she told Bloomberg. 

Other cities have also tapped into the bond markets to handle their housing crises. For instance, New York City sold $700 million in social bonds in October 2023 to help pay for affordable housing. 

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has acted to streamline affordable housing projects through an executive order. Signed shortly after Bass took office in December 2022, the directive requires city departments involved in planning and decision-making to greenlight 100% of affordable projects, circumventing codes and regulations that are traditionally responsible for long delays and additional costs. 

As a result, Los Angeles now has more affordable housing units in the pipeline than in 2020, 2021 and 2022 combined. Since the order was issued, 16,150 affordable housing units have been approved without requiring any new funding, public subsidies or tax credits, according to another Bloomberg report.

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