Tag Archives: affordability

The Next Affordability Pinch

photo credit: Payton Chung

Yesterday’s home sales figures from the National Association of Realtors remind us that despite reasons for optimism, the market is not quite out of the woods. It’s important to note that the 2.6 percent slide (compared to March) is for home sales.  Continuing a multi-year trend, rental vacancy is still going down.  In short, many people who previously would have been potential homeowners are renting.  This is a big deal for affordability.  Bear with me here… Continue reading

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“Out of Reach”

photo credit: NLIHC

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

“In no state can a minimum wage worker afford a two-bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent, working a standard 40-hour work week.”

This infographic was released in a recent NLIHC report, “Out of Reach: America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis.”  Take a look at how many hours a minimum-wage worker needs to log every week in order to afford “Fair Market Rent.”  Pretty poignant stuff…

The full report is available online.

[Thanks to Erin for sending me this image]

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Planning for Affordability: Special Districts

photo credit: Billy Hathorn

A recent article by Charlottesville Tomorrow featured a major housing issue for college towns: where to put students.  Students are willing to live about anywhere, so long as it’s within walking distance to campus (or well-serviced by transit).  This means they are also willing to pay a wide variety of rents for housing.

This can be a challenge for neighborhoods.  As owners recognize the guaranteed student housing market, many change or convert their properties to meet this demand.  This can be good for students and landlords alike.  But it also puts pressure on neighborhoods who want to remain homeowners.   Continue reading

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Owner Costs Rise, Incomes Don’t Keep Up

NC2SD route stops, organized by a ratio of affordability: Change in Median Selected Monthly Owner Costs (SMOC) / Change in Median Owner Income. The heavy black line indicates a ratio of 1.0, while the purple dashed lines show the NC2SD and national averages. Places with a green background experienced greater increases in income than owner costs; the red background indicates the converse.

[Part of a series on the 2012 NC2SD Bike & Build route]

It goes without saying that most prices increase over time, and real estate is a particular investment where you may even hope that’s the case.  However, higher real estate prices could also mean higher owner costs, ranging from larger monthly mortgage payments to additional repairs or maintenance.  As long as incomes rise along with home values, affordability is not necessarily hindered.   Continue reading

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More Building, More Affordability? Not For These Cities.

Plotting changes in occupied housing units against changes in total housing units helps illustrate the housing market's supply-demand relationship. Green/Red markers indicate places that More/Less affordable (see yesterday's post for a definition), and the size of marker represents the relative gap size between income and affordability (either positive or negative). The dashed line is where every unit of housing added becomes occupied, 2000-2010.

If you’ve looked at any sort of news media during the last several months, you’ve probably heard or read about the nation’s housing market.  Housing as an industry includes way more than buyers and sellers – there are developers, construction workers, banks, land owners, local governments, and probably more that I’m forgetting.  The issue of affordable housing is inextricably linked to this larger housing market, and as we’ve heard and read, it’s been a rough couple of years. Continue reading

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