Missing Middle Housing Urban Design Projects Articles News

Reflecting on the New York Times Article “What Happened to the Starter Home”

This excellent article, which features Opticos’ Mews Homes in Daybreak and a quote from Founding Principal Dan Parolek, reinforces that it is not just generally a lack of housing that is causing today’s housing crisis, but more specifically the lack of smaller, attainably-priced starter homes.

Only 8% of homes built this past year were 1,400 square feet or under. Every corner of the country is in need of innovative solutions to address this gap and even this article identifies Missing Middle Housing as a part of a solution.  

This is an opportunity many of our forward-thinking clients are focusing on to differentiate themselves from competitors who are slow to change, to stabilize the long-term competitiveness of their company’s work, and to be part of this much-needed change from a mission-driven standpoint. Think about making an impact like Patagonia and Yvon Chouinard at a smaller scale!

The demand for such housing is being driven by baby boomers and millennials who want these smaller housing types, but also by a growing number of middle and lower income households that do not have the income or savings to buy a single family home. 

Our Missing Middle Housing types such as the duplex, fourplex, cottage courts, and townhouses are meeting this demand and need as this article suggests they can. This is Opticos’s core strength in our architecture and master planning practice. Even the ULI Terwilliger report, “Attainable Housing,” identified Missing Middle Housing as one solution to deliver attainable housing choices.

Opticos’s Mews Housing was featured in the Times article as one successful example of thoughtful Missing Middle site planning and type design delivering an attainably-priced starter home in the Salt Lake City region. “It was a home run the minute we built them,” Opticos client Mr. Nageli of Holmes Homes said.” This same type has been proved as a for-rent model in our Prairie Queen Neighborhood in Papillion, NE as well.

It was a home run the minute we built them.

— Jason Nageli, Holmes Homes

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