Housing Accessibility and Affordability
My husband and I waited six years after our marriage to buy our town house, finding it easier to commit to one another for life than to a mortgage. When we finally made the leap to buy, we were worried about the expense of our mortgage, association dues, home insurance premiums, and unexpected home repair costs. I was laid off in April 2020 due to the global pandemic, and I felt immense pressure to find the next opportunity to meet all our financial obligations. I secured a new position quickly, but some of our neighbors were not so lucky and had to make sweeping changes to their lives.
I am concerned about individuals, couples, and families with children having access to owning decent housing, especially first-time home buyers. Although statistics show Maple Grove households make comparatively more than the US overall, we also pay significantly more for our housing. According to the US Census, the Maple Grove median household income from 2014 to 2018 was more than $100,000 as compared to the just over $60,000 for the US. The Maple Grove median value of owner-occupied housing units from 2014 to 2018 was almost $300,000 as compared to just over $200,000 for the US. Additionally, mortgages cost us about $300 more a month, and rent cost over $400 more a month. This data underscores a housing accessibility issue, especially considering the high volume of restaurant and retail businesses operating in Maple Grove. With the high costs of our housing, many restaurant and retail workers cannot afford to live here.
If elected, I will aim to increase the number of single-family homes accessible to first-time home buyers. I will advocate for more affordable housing units, as we will need to to take care of citizens recovering from the lasting economic effects of the pandemic. We cannot forget our seniors. Recent US Census data indicates Maple Grove residents over the age of 65 account for 12% of the population, and once 2020 data are available, we could see this number has risen. We will need to construct additional senior housing to keep pace with our aging population.