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Housing Affordability: Market Approaches


  • Priority-setting meeting: Date TBA.

  • Working group leaders: 

        o    Sara Barli Herald, partner, Bilzin Sumberg

        o    Annie Lord, executive director, Miami Homes for All



To come up with innovative market-based approaches to address housing affordability challenges in Miami, and discover how public-private partnerships and creative solutions can make housing more accessible to all residents.

Subject Matter Experts:
•    Oliver Gross, President, New Urban Development
•    David Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Terra
•    Alberto Milo, Jr., President, Related Urban Development Group 
•    Craig Robins, Chief Executive Officer, Dacra
•    Facilitator: Sara B. Herald, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg
•    Dialogue Activist: David Resnick, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Key Observations:
•    Affordable housing needs to exist in every neighborhood and municipality in Miami-Dade County and “affordable housing” should not be concentrated in any single area.
•    Cost of land, interest rates, costs of construction are driving up the cost for additional supply so all efforts must be made to reduce costs in any other way possible in order for developers to create supply that is in fact affordable.



  1. Land use and zoning changes are needed to promote different kinds of affordable product.

    • Need to promote 2-5 story product with relaxed parking to reduce hard costs of construction.

    • Government should provide neighborhood-based parking to shift burden and hard cost of parking away from developer (which in turn is passed on to end user).

    • Need to have zoning changes to allow small low rise multi-family product (such as garden apartments or row houses) in areas that are currently single family but abut commercially zoned areas.

    • Need to create more density allowance to reduce cost per unit because of enormous land costs.

    • More local efforts to reduce time for zoning reviews if for an affordable development.

    • Zoning to allow smaller units and more shared resources such as parking, central/shared living or cooking areas and amenities.

    • Increase transit corridors and approve additional density in such corridors.

  2. Permitting process needs to be changed because permitting time adds cost to the project and ultimately such costs are passed to end user.

    • Need dedicated staff for permitting of affordable projects to expedite permitting and reduce carrying costs.

    • Current system rewards government for denying permits and asking for resubmission because additional fees are collected on each submission. Need single fee structure so there is no incentive for government to reject application and collect additional fees.

  3. Incentives are needed to lead to ownership, as rental system prevents folks from building wealth.

    • Need to explore incentives for rent-to-own so people can develop equity.

    • Government subsidies for home or condo ownership

    • Create a resource road map to assist families in securing available down payment assistance and mortgages which create pathways to ownership and the creation of wealth

  4. Government funding of recurring dollars to buy down interest rates for affordable development.

  5. Aggressive analysis of vacant or under-utilized public sector land and/or facilities to explore public private partnerships for development of affordable housing (vertical redevelopment of school facilities or public low rise buildings or parking structures to incorporate housing).

  6. Need to rebrand what “affordable housing” means to curb the NIMBY impact.

  7. Incentives for developers in transitional neighborhoods so people aren’t forced out of their communities so that we are creating inclusive communities with families at various income levels.

  8. Expand ad valorem tax exemption under Live Local Act to reduce the number of units required to encourage smaller in-fill projects.

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