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The Minneapolis 2040 Housing Plan: What You Need To Know

January 31, 2022

A Comprehensive Plan

The Minneapolis 2040 Housing Plan is a complex initiative designed to address the growing need for housing in Minneapolis.

Although the plan is still in the works and subject to change, its impact on the city's housing market will be significant over the next two decades. As the plan unfolds, it must remain adaptable to evolving conditions, as any plan spanning two decades must be.

The plan's primary goal is to address the city's housing shortage by introducing more affordable, diverse, and sustainable housing options. Its implementation will have a significant impact on the Minneapolis housing market, with a focus on addressing the ever-increasing demand for housing. Despite the challenges of rolling out such an ambitious plan, the Minneapolis 2040 initiative is a necessary step toward building a more inclusive and thriving city for all.

Minneapolis is projected to see a staggering growth of over 250,000 single-family homes within city limits in the next 15-20 years. While the city has traditionally been known for its abundance of apartment buildings, it has also been committed to providing residents with a diverse range of housing options, including single-family homes. However, the rapid population growth poses a significant challenge to the city's housing landscape.

At present, around 75% of Minneapolis's population resides in single-family homes or neighborhoods that only permit small multi-unit buildings or single-family residences. As the city grapples with accommodating the influx of new residents, it will need to balance its commitment to preserving its housing traditions with the need for more affordable, diverse, and sustainable housing options for its residents.

The Crisis

Minneapolis's housing costs have skyrocketed due to the prevalence of single-family and small multi-unit housing, making it increasingly unaffordable for many residents. While the local and federal governments can provide assistance and low-income housing, such measures alone may not be sufficient to address the growing demand for housing as the city's population expands.

As rental rates continue to increase, residents find themselves struggling to keep up, with some fearing they may be unable to afford housing in the near future. The vacancy rate in Minneapolis currently stands at a meager 2%, a statistic that favors property managers but proves detrimental to those searching for homes. A shortage of supply naturally drives up costs, further exacerbating the housing crisis in the city.

In the face of these challenges, Minneapolis must prioritize the development of new and diverse housing options to accommodate its growing population while ensuring that existing residents are not priced out of their homes. Only by adopting a comprehensive approach to housing can the city hope to address this critical issue and build a more inclusive and sustainable community for all. 


Rather than resisting the demand for more housing, the Minneapolis 2040 plan takes a proactive approach by prioritizing the construction of large multi-family housing units on the city's skyline. This represents a significant departure from the city's traditional housing landscape, as there have been few major additions to the skyline in recent years. Furthermore, the city aims to develop multi-family housing in areas where it has not been previously present, reflecting a commitment to increasing housing options for all residents.

By embracing the construction of large multi-family housing units, Minneapolis can help to address the growing demand for housing while promoting diversity, sustainability, and affordability. As the city continues to grow and evolve, it must remain open to innovative housing solutions that balance the needs of all its residents and ensure a thriving and inclusive community for generations to come.

Bde Maka Ska, Minneapolis
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The Proposal

In 2020, Jacob Frey, the newly elected mayor of Minneapolis, worked alongside his team to propose the 2040 plan, which includes the use of "fourplexes," or what proponents of the plan have dubbed "freyplexes." A fourplex is essentially a multi-family housing unit that consists of four distinct units. These types of buildings can be highly profitable for investors while also offering privacy and spaciousness for residents. In fact, fourplexes can offer significantly more space than apartments, ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet on average.

Despite the advantages of fourplexes, opposition to the 2040 plan has arisen due to concerns over changes in zoning codes in many of Minneapolis's historic neighborhoods. While these neighborhoods will be the most challenging to convince, Mayor Frey and his team are committed to expanding housing options and increasing affordability for all residents. By leveraging innovative solutions like fourplexes, Minneapolis can meet the needs of its growing population while preserving the character and integrity of its unique neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods Affected

The Minneapolis city council anticipated that many neighborhoods would be unhappy with the proposed zoning code changes. It is challenging to determine the precise neighborhoods that will be directly impacted by the changes. However, the new zoning code has already been implemented in some of the first affected areas. 

As of January 2020, the updated zoning code permits new apartment buildings of up to three units on all residential properties. Pending approval by the city council in January 2021, the next phase of the implementation plan will introduce changes to building size and location regulations under the built form plan and zoning. For more information on the built-form zoning plan, check out the Minneapolis 2040 implementation guide online.

What This Means for Minneapolis Housing

To better address the impact of the Minneapolis 2040 plan on the housing market and homeownership in the city, it's important to consider some of the factors that may affect the city's future growth and development. For instance, while the plan aims to increase the supply of housing in Minneapolis, recent tax laws and other economic factors have caused some businesses to leave the area, which may reduce the demand for housing in the city.

To make an informed decision about buying or owning a home in Minneapolis, it's essential to have a good understanding of the Minneapolis 2040 plan and its potential implications for the housing market. While it may be more expensive to build or buy a home in the suburbs, the suburbs could continue to increase in value as the city grows and expands.

If you're considering a custom-built home or renovating an existing property, it's worth reaching out to Sustainable 9. They can provide guidance and support to help you achieve your dream home in Minneapolis. 

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