MML and MEDC Release Plan Simplifies Construction by Promoting More Multi-Family Homes
(MML, September 22, 2022)
Michigan – As rent and mortgage costs soar and communities across the state struggle to develop enough housing for their residents, the Michigan Municipal Association and Michigan Economic Development Corporation have looked back to the past to develop new strategies to help communities add more housing options to their lives. existing neighborhoods
The plan is called “Model Book Houses for 21st Century Michigan” and uses a two-part approach to accelerate housing development across the state. First, the plan offers free construction plans for multifamily homes that use designs modeled after the popular kit homes built during the state’s housing boom in the early 20th century. Home builders can choose from two-family homes and four-story homes that use architectural themes designed to fit existing Michigan neighborhoods. The second part of the Model Book provides a toolkit to help communities modernize zoning codes to allow for more multi-family structures, such as homes envisioned in the Model Book.
“The free plans offered at Pattern Book Homes are similar to home styles built in classic neighborhoods across the state, such as the Old West Side in Ann Arbor, the Heritage Hill Neighborhood in Grand Rapids, the Mechanic Street Neighborhood in Bay City, or the Westside neighborhood in Lansing. ” said Melissa Milton-Pung, Michigan Municipal League program manager. “These home plans fit seamlessly into the existing fabric of our communities. And when builders use these plans in coordination with local authorities, they can save costs and shorten approval times, allowing communities to increase the homes they desperately need even faster.”
The Michigan Statewide Housing Plan estimates that 75,000 new homes must be built each year to meet demand. Still, the Michigan Home Builders Association (HBAM) estimates that only 17,000 new home building permits will be issued by the end of this year.
Between January 2013 and October 2021, the average selling price of a home in Michigan increased 84%. During the same period, rent demanded for a condo in Michigan increased by 20%, with the highest increases likely being recorded for midrange properties that should include affordable units.
“We have an ongoing labor shortage that stretches back to the recent housing market crash, combined with rising material costs and pent-up demand to drive home construction costs,” he said. Dawn Crandall, vice president of the Michigan Home Builders Association. “The Model Book offers creative solutions that can help speed up construction timelines while using existing infrastructure, so we look forward to working with our members and local municipal leaders to adopt multi-family home construction as set out in the Model Book.”
By using the house plans in the Model Book, builders will save cost and time by having to design new units themselves. The Model Book also encourages local planning authorities to pre-approve designs for specific neighborhoods that meet appropriate zoning and parcel size standards to further speed up the development process.
“Many Michigan communities have an aging housing stock and older neighborhoods in need of infill development,” said Andrea Brown, Executive Director of the Michigan Planning Association. “The Model Book is ideal for helping communities evolve into what we call ‘ready for redevelopment’ by providing plug-and-play solutions for new home construction in neighborhoods that need it. This can really be a game changer.”
Key features at the Pattern Book Homes Project include classic architectural styles popular in kit homes of the 1920s and 1930s. House plans require separate HVAC systems, individual washers and dryers, and sound buffering systems between units. Based on current construction costs, the Michigan Municipal Association estimates Model Book homes can be built at $500,000 per duplex and $900,000 per quad.
“The house plans have been carefully designed to ensure they use key components that allow them to be visually and functionally compatible with the common types of housing available in Michigan,” he said. Martha MacFarlane-Faes, Assistant State Historic Preservation Officer. “This is a new build that will fit perfectly into existing neighborhoods.”
In addition to the cost savings, the Pattern Book Homes plan is designed to help communities add density without acquiring more land.
“Michigan’s classic strategy over the past decades has been to expand outward with new greenfield construction on a car-focused landscape, whether we’ve grown or not. “By offering multi-family home plans with the Michigan Association of Planning, we can add new homes and gently add more people to existing neighborhoods without taking up more space,” Brown said.