Why is Missing Middle housing called “attainable” housing?

April 8, 2024

Missing Middle housing is sometimes called “attainable housing,” which refers to housing within reach of middle-income households. There is a shortage of housing in the County that meets residents’ needs while fitting within their budgets. Missing Middle housing encourages construction of smaller, high-quality units—between 600 and 1,200 square feet. Because of their smaller sizes and efficient use of land, these market-rate units have lower construction costs and are more affordable to middle-income households. New housing construction also facilitates “filtering,” the process by which housing depreciates and becomes more affordable over time. Currently, many of the County’s middle-income households are boxed out of good, affordable housing because of competition from high-income households. So, by adding quality, low-cost housing to the overall housing stock, Missing Middle housing reduces that pressure and helps make all the County’s housing more attainable.

Because Missing Middle housing offers a range of size and housing types, it can meet the needs of a diverse array of households: seniors seeking to downsize, single-parent families, young adults, and single-person households. Missing Middle housing can be attainable to middle-income workers such as teachers, firefighters, nurses, administrative assistants, tradespeople, and others. By providing more housing choices, the County can expand opportunities for housing that meets the needs of County residents and its workforce.