Senate unanimously passes Draheim’s affordable housing bill

By a unanimous vote of 65 to 0 today, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill authored by Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) that would create more affordable housing in Minnesota.

House File 792 makes two-unit townhomes more affordable by treating them as single-family residences and not as multi-unit townhomes. This change would exempt two-unit townhomes from the state’s expensive sprinkler mandate.

“This is a simple bill with an important goal: to make housing more affordable,” said Sen. Draheim. “It’s a problem affecting every corner of the state. Border communities are seeing construction move to neighboring states, and a recent Pioneer Press story noted that new home construction in the Twin Cities is the most expensive of the top 20 largest metro areas, outside coastal cities. We have to start looking at ways to reduce construction costs so it’s easier for people to buy a home in Minnesota.”

Regulations that are tougher and more expensive than neighboring states – like the sprinkler requirement, which can increase costs by roughly $10,000 – are one reason Minnesota’s construction costs are so high, according to experts interviewed for the Pioneer Press article.

The bill will next be sent to Gov. Dayton for his signature or veto.