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Affordable housing squeeze despite apartment construction boom

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It's a tight market for Minnesota renters in search of affordable housing even though thousands of apartments are under construction.

MPR cites a new report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership that found that 97 percent of Minnesota counties have a shortage of affordable rentals. Statewide, rent is highest in the metropolitan area, but the report found that greater Minnesota also suffers from an inadequate number of affordable options.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune quotes a second-quarter report from Marquette Advisors that shows that the average vacancy rate in the 13-county metro fell to a low 2.3 percent, in the ninth consecutive quarter that found vacancy rates below 3 percent. The study also reported that the squeeze pushed rental costs up by 3 percent to an average monthly rate of $979.

Just last Sunday, Star Tribune business columnist Lee Schafer took a look at new and proposed apartment projects in the Twin Cities, and found that more than 7,000 units are currently under construction with an additional 13,600 units in the works or on the drawing board.

With so much new rental real estate, the column evaluated whether the rental market is in danger of becoming overbuilt and concluded that it is not. The column concluded that the metro area has been underbuilt in the past decade and is playing catch up now.

The story also found that even with the building boom, the city is far behind comparable cities including Seattle and Denver, which are outpacing Minneapolis in the number of units under construction or coming on the market.

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