I’ll have fries with that

06 08 15 McMansionI’ve become Facebook friends with a number of folks who still live in the Washington DC suburb where I attended high school, and some of them are bemoaning the loss of their homes and neighborhoods.  The modest homes that they grew up in are not just being “flipped”– they’re being razed and replaced with what are colloquially called “McMansions.”  The phenomenon is described in this article in Bloomberg News online.

You may think this means a loss of affordable housing–but not so.  These areas were priced out of the affordable market many years ago. Purchasing a small house for $450,000 and replacing it with a home in the $1-2 million range does, however, push up land costs, so that affordability in those areas is even harder to reach.

I recently read about one community that is adding a surcharge onto permits for flips and other housing “upscaling” that goes to fund affordable housing options.  Not so poetic, perhaps, but may be the only way to get closer to housing justice.