Merced city officials plan to build more homes, apartment units to meet demand

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- All over Merced, houses are going up, but it's still not enough.

"New development is something we're desperately needing," said Kim Rogina, Merced County Realtors Association President.

City officials are trying catch up with the demand, and just this year they've issued more than 640 permits to build single family homes.

That's the most they've issued in more than a decade.

"We need to plan and build then to keep up with what's going on," said Scott McBride, Development Services Director.

Single family homes, multi-family and apartments units are in the works.

With UC Merced planning to add thousands of more students by 2020, McBride says they have a long way to go before they meet the demand.

The city is also working with Merced County to build affordable housing units

"One is located on Child and V - its for 120 affordable units. A component of those will be for homeless in terms of providing sustainable services in terms of what we call wrap around, or ongoing services for them," McBride said.

Kim Rogina says with Merced's vacancy rate being around 1 percent, and a variety of different housing is crucial.

"If there's not enough housing, rent goes up and none of us want that. We're hoping for more development. Apartments condos, houses. Anything we can do to make Merced more affordable," Rogina said.

McBride says they are working on some ways that will hopefully increase housing production, including a statewide community infrastructure program and a new master plan building process.

"Rather than go through a plan check process for every new home builders want to build and pay fees for that, you basically get master plans for all the ones they want to build and approved at one time," he said.

The city is working on a feasibility study that could mean more development in north Merced.

McBride says they're also looking into getting grants in 2019 that would help folks with down payments, and get them into homes.
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