Housing and Economic Growth in the Twin Cities Region: Quantifying the Critical Link Between Housing Supply and the Region’s Economic Prosperity

This research explores the link between housing affordability and the Twin Cities region’s economic prosperity, providing an estimate for the region’s housing need for the next twenty years (2018-2038). The region stands to lose 48,000 jobs and suffer a $4.3 billion loss in Gross Regional Product over the 20-year period if we fail to meet the full housing need.

This report shows that a number of cities across the country, including Austin, Nashville, and St. Louis, all boast housing options more affordable than what is available in the Twin Cities. Not only is housing in the Twin Cities less affordable than many other growing urban areas, the region is on a trajectory to becoming as expensive as places like Denver and Seattle. According to the report, the Twin Cities is not producing enough workforce housing to meet the demand of the region’s growing economy. The region is experiencing a significant shortage of housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-wage working people. Currently, one in five workers in the seven-county Twin Cities region are housing cost-burdened; those 374,259 workers are paying more than 30% of their income each month for housing costs.

No one can solve this problem alone, but we all have a role to play. We hope this report will serve as a wakeup call to all of us, as we contemplate and plan for our region’s future.