There are very few places in Albuquerque’s Bernalillo County that suburban-style development hasn't touched. Like other growing cities, Albuquerque’s regional suburban development is ubiquitous. It envelops the inner valley, east and west mesas, Tijeras Canyon, and the eastern slope of the Sandias. Big homes, by historic standards, on uniformly sized lots along snaking cul-de-sacs. They look remarkably similar. They tend to be expensive. And not one of them is purchased with cash.
This is the dominant national development paradigm. Defenders claim that single family sprawl is the natural market response to buyer demand. The same defenders contend that the financing sector required to build and buy is only in a temporary decline.
You want fair? Join the circus!
The Fair Housing Act is 40 years old and April is Fair Housing Month. (For resources regarding Fair Housing in New Mexico go to the NM Fair Housing Center
). But this anniversary comes in the context of a popping housing market bubble. This month also witnessed the US Senate’s passage of a package of “housing rescue” measures that has been dubbed the Builder Bailout Bill
The $15 million bill provides some tax credits and deductions for buyers, an increase in mortgage revenue bonds and $6 million in builder tax breaks.
Critics say it rewards builders and mortgage bankers
for the very misjudgments that created the bubble in the first place.
In Albuquerque, economic development schemes are based on construction, so it is safe to assume that if housing needs rescuing, so will our local economy. Yet the State is already involved in record loan production with NMFA public bond funding, as well as record- breaking tax increment financing give-aways to developers like SunCal and Forest Covington.
Our State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons, demonstrating a willful disregard for the opinion of the Attorney General on the matter, is doing deals with a Las Cruces developer for, you guessed it, more construction. When the New Mexico Independent
asked his office for information about the land leases, they were told to take a hike - but not on State Land because that would be trespassing.
Are we overbuilding our auto-dependent suburbs on the sands of the most reckless financial environment in recent history?