The multiple unit property tax exemption program could forgo up to $375,000 in taxes for buildings that qualify.
The council says it wants to make housing more affordable.
Amanda Corsbie, property manager of the New Medford Apartments said, “everything is so expensive.”
Affordable housing in Medford has been hard to come by for years.
The city council did a study on housing availability and affordability in 2019.
That study expected demand for nearly 200 units per year, with less than 100 actually being built.
Medford’s Planning Director Matt Brinkley believes the pandemic and the Almeda Fire only made the issue worse.
“We already had a problem with affordability and just being able to provide enough housing to keep up with demand,” Brinkley said.
The New Medford Apartments downtown are also seeing issues with demand.
“I feel like over the last six months, it’s jumped tremendously. I feel like it was really slow and then with all the new building and people coming up from California, the demand has heightened,” Corsbie said.
Now, the city council wants to make housing more affordable through tax breaks.
Brinkley said, “the tax exemption programs provide us with some additional tools.”
The multiple unit tax exemption would forgo up to $375,000 in taxes per year.
Buildings that qualify could use that exemption for up to ten years.
“That’s something we really want to support because it’s particularly difficult for market rate developers to develop more housing right now,” Brinkley said.
The council also passed a bill that gives tax exemptions to non-profits that provide low-income housing.
That bill would alleviate all property taxes for buildings that qualify.
The council believes both bills will help stimulate economic growth in the city.
Brinkley said, “we’re excited to engage with the development community and hopefully get a good response to it and people are interested in trying to use the program and develop more multi-family housing.”
Brinkley said the city wants to bring in experienced developers through these tax breaks.
He said it also wants to focus on smaller multi-family developments.