Mason City City Council approves housing study

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night adopted  a community housing market study and needs assessment.

McClure Engineering of Clive was hired by the council in 2021 to do the study, with it being completed and submitted to the city earlier this year for their review. The study looked at things like demographics, housing affordability, issues and opportunities in the current housing market, strategies, and it presented three potential development opportunities.

Director of Development Services Steven Van Steenhuyse says the study shows that within the next ten years, 522 new units need to be built in some way to meet the projected demand.  “Of those, 178 are owner-occupied units, which includes single-family, and then the multi-family unit would be a condominium. The renter-occupied would be 66% of that total of 344 units of which 207 would be market-rate, 69 workforce housing and 68 would be income-restricted housing. There’s definitely a need to meet that low-to-moderate income threshold which is 80% of the area median.”

Van Steenhuyse says the study calls the current housing stock in the community suspect, and that demand will show people want newer houses.  “58% of Mason City homes were built prior to 1960. The quality of the housing stock is suspect. Obviously there’s a lot of good stuff in it if people want to renovate, and we encourage that. A lot of young families are looking for something newer, something that doesn’t require a lot of do-it-yourself work.”

Van Steenhuyse says now that the study is completed, it’s the city’s job to get the word out to developers. “Through the consultants, we were able to start relationships with a few developers that are interested in doing some of this kind of work, so we’re hoping that we can move forward with those initiatives.”

You can see a copy of the housing study by clicking on this link and starting on page 197 of the council packet