By Emily Washington
April 25, 2012
The Trends panel “What’s Next? Meeting the Burgeoning Housing Demand” featured panelists Charles Hewlett of RCLCO, Matthew Biernbaum of AvalonBay Communities, Inc., and Brian (AJ) Jackson of EYA moderated by Lisa Sturtevant, of the George Mason University School of Public Policy Center for Regional Analysis.
The panelists emphasized the large and growing number of people employed in the Washington region and the resulting need for new housing units. The Center for Regional Analysis predicts 1,000,000 new jobs will be available in the Metropolitan Statistical Area over the next 20 years.
As Hewlett explained, the recession curtailed the trend of residents choosing to move to the region’s fringe. He sees increased demand for housing within the core of the Washington area, with redevelopment moving clockwise from Silver Spring, MD to Prince George’s County.
All of the panelists emphasized the relationship between housing and land use restrictions. As Jackson said, density limits make it difficult for developers to provide new market-rate affordable housing because developers can only profitably build to the top of the market without being able to construct denser housing. “Inclusionary zoning can’t provide many units,” he said. “It all comes back to density.”
Because of the policies limiting new affordable housing construction, the panelists emphasized the importance of preserving affordable housing units in the counties surrounding the District.