Tag Archives: car ownership

What Tools Can Be Used in Boulder Colorado to Create More Affordable Housing?

By Dom Nozzi

September 15, 2017

Boulder, Colorado – due to such factors as its strikingly picturesque setting, its outstanding climate, its proximity to a large number of world-class hiking and biking trails, its proximity to ski resorts (and many other stupendous outdoor adventures), and its impressive bicycle and transit facilities – has one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation.ho

The question often raised in the city, therefore, is what tools are available to make housing more affordable in Boulder. A common suggestion is to build more housing in the city.

There are a number of effective ways that more housing can provide more affordable housing in Boulder.

Since land is so expensive in Boulder, newly created housing needs to minimize the amount of land that a house consumes (compact condos, for example, or small apartments).

By revising zoning regulations to allow shops and offices and other destinations within residential neighborhoods, a larger number of households can reduce the number of cars they must own. Because each car owned by a household costs, on average, $10,000 per year, a significant amount of money that was being used for transportation can instead be allocated to housing if the household can reduce its car ownership from, say, two cars to one.

The City should incentivize or require new developments to unbundle the price of parking from the price of the (non-single family) home so that a household can save significant dollars by opting not to pay for unneeded parking. Land for parking is a big expense given the expensive land cost in Boulder.

These important affordablility opportunities can be explored to a much more substantial extent in Boulder, as most or all of them have hardly been deployed at all.




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Filed under Politics, Transportation, Urban Design

Affordable Housing and Smart Growth


By Dom Nozzi

November 22, 2002

A common criticism of “smart growth” is that it is relatively unaffordable to buy a home in a smart growth community.

There is too often an issue that is so very easy to sweep under the rug in these sorts of “affordability” debates.

Dumb, sprawl growth is, almost by definition, auto-dependent. Smart growth, conversely, creates transportation choice — when done in-town, over the long term, or both.

While it may seem, superficially, that a house in a remote location is “more affordable” sprawl-developmentbecause it has a lower purchase price than a house in a walkable location, a lower-income family that is forced to own 2-4 cars in that remote location will often find that such a “bargain” house is more of a financial strain than the in-town house (where, say, only 1 or 2 cars might be needed).

The lower transportation cost of houses in smart developments is why, in some markets, Fannie Mae has adopted the location-efficient mortgage, which recognizes that (smart) locations rich in transportation choices are locations where households have more income available to pay for such things as the mortgage (because less income is being spent for transportation).


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Filed under Economics, Sprawl, Suburbia, Transportation