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Prospera’s Approach to Tackling The Missing Middle

Prospera is proud to introduce a first-of-a-kind approach to help address a long-standing problem plaguing the United States: the national housing crisis.

The unmet needs of the market segment known as “The Missing Middle” have continued to spiral out of control for a variety of reasons, including lack of affordable products, skyrocketing prices, inadequate public policy, and shrinking number of developers to deliver supply.

Over the years, despite tireless work by countless developers to address these issues, limited impact has been achieved. Based on its extensive research and deep understanding of these issues Prospera, through Missing Middle Community Partners, took the initiative to develop a solution that fills the gaps and provides the resources necessary to ensure better outcomes.

Why is this important? Recent data reveal a concerning picture: Home inventory is down while home prices are up, and the problem continues to worsen. Consider: As the Federal Reserve reports, “as home sales have boomed, active housing listings have dropped and the median home sale price has surged.” Moreover, recent data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) confirm that rents have increased approximately 24% during the past three years.

The solution – access to appropriate attainable housing – is becoming increasingly difficult for developers to implement due to a variety of factors, including skyrocketing land prices. According to HUD data, “land prices increased 60% from 2012-2019, and the cost of homes more than doubled from 1998 to 2021.” 

Many much-needed projects, ranging from duplexes to mid-rise apartments, have not broken ground – either because they’re too small for big developers who would rather optimize their resources on larger projects, or because they’re too challenging for smaller, emerging developers who lack the necessary financing and other resources to take them on.

Today, Buckley and her team are proud to introduce their new framework that involves partnering with local, emerging developers and providing them with the necessary financial backing and support. They expect this to enable the comprehensive delivery of attainable housing at all levels of the Missing Middle, ranging from affordable housing to workforce housing. Particularly in dense urban areas, solutions may include combinations of higher densities and smaller units.

Missing Middle Community Partners’ five-pronged approach includes: development (doing it themselves); training; consultancy; advocacy; and providing access to capital, including project financing through the newly established Missing Middle Impact Fund.

  • Development: Developing Missing Middle projects (both rental and home ownership).
  • Training and Internships: Providing hands-on training and internships for emerging developers and those interested in learning how to deliver Missing Middle projects.
  • Consulting: Drawing on its deep talent bench to provide a full range of advisory services to investors, lenders, and new-to-the-sector developers, in all markets.
  • Advocacy: Speaking and advocating on these issues nationally, as well as with local governments, reviewing agencies, economic development organizations, not-for-profits, universities, and interested community and industry groups.
  • Funding: Providing gap financing for predevelopment and construction loans through the Missing Middle Impact Fund.

“We are just getting started,” Ellen says. “We are determined to lead the nation in solving our attainable housing crisis so working-class people can live with the dignity they deserve. We invite investors, property owners, emerging developers or anyone interested to join us in building the movement to deliver the Missing Middle to neighborhoods nationwide. Together, we can and will do it – one project at a time.”