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Report Finds Thousands Living In Affordable Housing Near Transit Could Face Higher Rents

Study by AARP, Reconnecting America and National Housing Trust explores impact of expiration of contracts for federally subsidized units

In the next five years as many as 160,000 renters in 20 metro areas could lose their affordable apartments near transit because the contracts on their privately-owned HUD-subsidized rental units are due to expire. The renewed popularity of urban living means that properties in walkable neighborhoods near transit have increased in value, and that property owners are likely to opt out of the HUD program and convert the housing from affordable to market rate.

These are the results of a recent study by AARP, Reconnecting America and the National Housing Trust, which released the results in Washington, DC, on Sept. 30. The study found that there are more than 250,000 privately owned HUD-subsidized units within a half-mile of existing or proposed rail stations in the 20 regions, and that contracts on two-thirds of these units are due to expire by the end of 2014. Almost a quarter of the units are designated for seniors.

“Affordable housing near public transportation is a very special resource because families who use transit can reduce their transportation expenditures by 16 percent – so these subsidized apartments are made even more affordable because of their location,” noted Reconnecting America President and CEO John Robert Smith. “The federal government should ensure that this housing remains affordable.”

Center for TOD Demand Estimate Update

Market demand estimate for TOD rises from 14.6 million households by 2025 to 15.2 million by 2030.

The Center for TOD has updated its market demand estimate for the number of households likely to be looking to rent or buy housing near transit, from 14.6 million households by 2025 to 15.2 million households by 2030. These numbers are more than double the number of households who live near transit today. Meeting this demand would necessitate building 2,000 housing units near every station in the U.S. The earlier demand estimate was released in our landmark TOD market study ³Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit² in 2004. The numbers were updated for 2030 in order to be consistent with the time horizon of many regional transportation and land use planning efforts underway, as well as to account for the construction of new fixed-guideway systems.

Center for TOD Demand Estimate by City

Why Transit-Oriented Development And Why Now? (2007)

TOD 101

Transit-oriented development or TOD is typically defined as more compact development within easy walking distance of transit stations (typically a half mile) that contains a mix of uses such as housing, jobs, shops, restaurants and entertainment. At Reconnecting America we believe projects should also achieve the goals listed here. TOD is really about creating walkable, sustainable communities for people of all ages and incomes and providing more transportation and housing choices (including townhomes, apartments, live-work spaces, and lofts). These neighborhoods provide for a lifestyle that’s convenient, affordable and active, and create places where our children can play and our parents can grow old comfortably.

Hidden In Plain Sight

Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit (September 2004, revised April 2005)

There are tremendous shifts occurring nationally in demographics, consumer preferences, employer location strategies and transportation infrastructure investments. Consumers are choosing smaller, more compact housing in neighborhoods where shops and services are within walking distance, and where highquality transit service is an option. While these trends have been documented and in some cases even quantified, there have been few attempts to calculate their impact on the demand for higher-density housing near transit. The Center for Transit-Oriented Development has built a national demand estimate for housing within a half mile of fixed guideway transit stops through 2025 for the 27 regions that currently have transit systems, as well as for 15 regions that are seeking to build new fixed-guideway systems by 2025 using the FTA New Starts program. This estimate is based on household demand projections for each region that capture the effect of different demographic trends in different metropolitan areas. Because the study considers only the half-mile radius around transit stations, a readily definable area but not the total area that can accommodate transit-oriented development, this is a relatively conservative estimate of potential demand for TOD in 2025. Studies have shown that people will ride transit from beyond the half mile if they have good feeder bus service or bike access. Development around these access modes could also be considered transit-oriented development. Inclusion of these areas would offer a more complete assessment of the demand for housing near transit, but is beyond the scope of this study.

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