Based on my last few posts, it is clear that there are lots of strong opinions on the cause and solution to our housing woes.

So I just wanted to take a moment to update those of you who may not have seen.

Grand Rapids’ planning commission met last week and is sending a variety of proposals to be voted on at the next City Commission meeting. Likely sometime this month.

Here is a nice summary from Crain’s:  5 ways Grand Rapids may boost housing supply and affordability.

We’ve talked about a few of these already, but here is the quick version:

  • Making it easier to approve and build ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units).
  • Increasing the number of unrelated people allowed to live in a residential unit from 4 to 6.
  • Updating where emergency and transitional shelters are permitted.
  • Making it easier to increase density on smaller lots and single-family homes by converting them into duplexes and multi-family buildings.
  • Reducing parking requirements for a variety of development types.

As I mentioned last month, these types of policies are very popular. A recent survey from Zillow showed that 40% of all recent buyers approve of various types of “house hacking” to decrease costs and increase living spaces.


So how will these changes impact you? Here are a few thoughts:

Thinking about buying a house? You see it in the news almost weekly. Inventory is still near all-time lows and interest rates are high. There are currently 451 houses for sale in Kent County. That makes it trickier to find a house but not impossible. Interest rates are also expected to drop a bit in the coming months.

Trying to sell a house? It’s still a seller’s market, but, as we’ve discussed regularly, there are many forces actively at work to increase inventory and bring down costs. The current average is 8 days on the market for recent listings. If you plan to sell soon and want to sell near the top of the market, that day is coming sooner rather than later.

Trying to find an apartment for rent? These measures are likely to be adopted precisely for their ability to increase the number of available units and bring down housing costs.

If you’d like to talk further or have questions about your particular circumstances, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Let me know what you think about these proposed solutions. Are we on the right track? Or off the rails?