Santa Fe’s Affordable Housing Timeline

30 years at a glance

A lot has changed in Santa Fe over the last 30 years, since the city passed its first inclusionary zoning ordinance aimed at creating greater affordability. Now the city faces a severe housing shortage and a flurry of new construction officials hope will shift the balance. Here's a timeline tracing the events that got us to where we are today.

READ MORE: House Rules – Inclusionary zoning is one of Santa Fe's biggest affordability problems and one of its best solutions >>


City purchases 860 acres in Tierra Contenta and establishes a nonprofit to oversee development of the property according to a master plan that requires 40% of units to be affordable.


Santa Fe Community Housing Trust is founded with the aim to establish a community land trust.


City wins Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for its Affordable Housing Roundtable.


Santa Fe adopts its first inclusionary zoning ordinance, called the Housing Opportunity Program, which requires a percentage of all new for-sale developments in the city to be sold at affordable prices. It was one of the first laws of its kind in the Mountain West.


Santa Fe creates a new General Plan. Its grand vision for Santa Fe includes creation of affordable housing; preservation of historic neighborhoods and culture; a distinct and uniform aesthetic; and sustainable growth.


The city overhauls its previous inclusionary zoning rules and creates the Santa Fe Homes Program and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The SFHP simplifies requirements for for-sale developers while increasing their affordability requirement and establishes an additional 15% affordability requirement for rental developments.


Financial crash. Relaxed lending standards in the late 1990s and early 2000s allowed millions of people with poor credit scores to take out home loans they couldn't afford. Real estate speculation during that time sent home prices shooting up until the bubble finally burst, leading to the collapse of major financial institutions and widespread foreclosures, as well as a dramatic slowdown in new construction.


Santa Fe lowers affordability requirement for for-sale developments from 30% to 20% in recognition of the strain of the recession on local developers.


Santa Fe Interfaith Housing joins the "Siler Yard" project to create affordable live/work space for artists. The city later donates land.


The city creates a fee-in-lieu option for developers of multi-family apartments in recognition that not a single new market-rate development was built since on-site affordability requirements for rental developers were established.


Broadstone Apartments on Rodeo Road takes advantage of the new fee-in-lieu option. It is the first new market-rate rental development to be approved by the city in over a decade. Santa Fe joins the "Built for Zero" policy initiative to address homelessness.


City Council amends the accessory dwelling unit rules, allowing owners to rent a house and a casita on the same property to separate parties; it also amends the inclusionary zoning rules again, giving rental developers more options for compliance and more incentives to build affordable units on-site. The economy is strong and many new developments are already in the pipeline.


Santa Fe makes the list of the top 20 cities people moved to during the pandemic and the housing market explodes. By January 2021, nearly 1,800 new units are under construction and another 1,600 have been approved, while median home sales price for the city and county hits more than half a million dollars.

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