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Thread: unit costs for affordable housing

  1. #1

    unit costs for affordable housing

    I am looking for information on the relative unit costs of affordable housing produced/sponsored by non-profits. Can someone recommend any regional studies/surveys?

  2. #2

    Samples Might not be necessary


    Your question might be moot. While it would be nice if non-profits could build housing cheaper than for-profits it wouldn't be very nice. The fact of the matter is that "sticks and bricks" cost the same for everyone. The one significant cost savings that non-profits can make is to use volunteer labor, like the Habitat for Humanity model.

    The thing you might be looking for instead is how non-profits build housing and make it sheaper for consumers. There are lots of ways to do this but I don't have the time or space here to teach you everything I know.

    I suggest you start by looking at research and article that are available online. Some very good sites are sponsored by LISC, The Enterprise Foundation, NeighborWorks, and Fannie Mae Foundation.

    Well, good luck with your research and I hope you'll be successful with in your affordable housing goals.


    David Danenfelzer

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    There are far to many variables to give a quick answer. Among these are land costs, infrastructure costs, professional costs (engineering, architecture, etc.), housing type (single/multi-family, project density, unit size, regional variations in labor and material costs, local code requirements....

  4. #4

    unit costs for affordable housing

    Thanks for your replies.
    I am familiar with the various factors in development costs (hard and soft), what I was really hoping is that someone would know of other studies underway to evaluate efficiency in the non-profit development of housing. I've had somewhat better luck finding evaluations of (post-development) asset management..

  5. #5
    these guys might be able to help you out.


  6. #6
    Cyburbian El Feo's avatar
    Mar 2002
    Outside, looking in.
    Sticks and bricks do indeed cost the same, guys, but the money used to put them together doesn't. Nonprofits often have access to cheaper money than most for-profits, and that can significantly affect soft costs and the ultimate TDC.

    HOWEVER, and this gets to the heart of what ML81 is after, I think, the affordable housing deals I am seeing in our office usually involve multiple funding sources - I've seen up to 10 in one deal - which makes a deal much more difficult to put together and close. This also makes it harder for the nonprofit to manage in terms of construction draws and there are often many more regulatory strings that federal funds, in particular, come with. This unfortunately can cut down on the ability of nonprofits to build efficiently.

    CHAPA is a good source for information in Massachusetts, along with the MA Housing Partnership Fund at www.mhpfund.com. You also might want to check with some of the national organizations such as the National Congress for Community Economic Development at www.ncced.org.

    Good luck!

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