While most of the national attention in last night’s election coverage focused on prominent personalities in key states, a number of local referendums addressed issues related to housing affordability.
Portland voters approved a $652.8 million bond
measure to build more affordable housing. According to OPB, the measure will fund the creation of 2,400 to 4,000 units of affordable housing in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties. The funding for this measure will come from a new fee on Portland metro property owners that will average about $60 per year.
Two North Carolina cities also passed bond measures to finance affordable housing. The Charlotte Observer reported
that voters in Charlotte approved a $50 million initiative that would more than triple the $15 million that the city usually allocates to its Housing Trust Fund. The measure will finance the creation of new low-income housing and the rehabilitation of foreclosed, blighted or dilapidated single-family houses and apartments. Separately, voters in Chapel Hill approved a $10 million bond to build and preserve more than 700 affordable homes and apartments. Paying off the bond could add a penny to the town’s tax rate of 52.80 cents per $100 in property value.
In Texas, Austin voters approved a $250 million proposal for affordable housing.
“We’re excited for this historic bond to have passed with such an overwhelming margin,” said John Lawler, the Head of the Keep Austin Affordable coalition organized in support of the bond, in an interview with the Austin Statesman. “We see it as a mandate for the city of Austin to invest heavily in affordable housing.”
However, one proposition that went down in defeat. KGO-TV reported that California voters rejected Proposition 10
, which would have overturned a 13-year-old state law limiting rent control on apartments built after 1995, single-family homes and condominiums, by a 65 percent to 35 percent margin. Opponents stated the measure would have decreased housing supply by reducing developers' incentive to build, while supporters insisted more rent control would prevent people from being priced out of their homes.