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Connecticut News

Connecticut is slow to keep up with demand for multifamily housing, data show

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LM Otero
/
AP

Affordable housing advocates say Connecticut needs more than 86,700 rental units to house tenants with extremely low incomes, according to estimates from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. But the pandemic has slowed the production of new housing.

New residential construction, particularly of multifamily housing, has lagged in Connecticut for years.

Hearst Connecticut Media reports that during the pandemic, developers have seen sky-rocketing costs of materials and labor for new construction. Builders cannot afford to produce enough residential properties for low-income earners. Data from the state Department of Economic Community Development shows permits for housing with five or more units represented about 37% of new construction in 2021, which is nearly half compared to the prior two years.

Advocates say restrictive municipal zoning laws are the biggest barrier to building more affordable multifamily houses in Connecticut. They’re pushing for new reforms that would create transit-oriented communities by allowing mixed-income housing near train stations.

Advocates also want legislation that requires towns to allow smaller lot sizes so that more housing can be built on parcels of land.

Several zoning reform laws failed to make it through the legislature last year. Opponents fought against what they said was “one-size fits all solutions for Connecticut municipalities.

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