Tag Archives: homeownership

Rebuilding Together: Philly Block Build

This past Saturday, I volunteered with Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, an area nonprofit that rehabilitates homes in low-income areas of Philly free of charge.  The organization works with community groups to identify local low-income homeowners who want to participate in the program, giving preference to people who are older, disabled, living with children or veterans (check out their homeowner application here).  After homeowners are selected, a contractor works with them to determine what repairs can be made.  Over the course of two weekends, volunteer contractors and builders gather on-site to make it happen.

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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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Building a University Community (Literally)

For today’s Road Ahead post, I wanted to write about something inspirational.  I didn’t have to look any further than the Habitat for Humanity chapter in Orange County, NC – one of the very first stops along the NC2SD Route.  An outstanding effort by the UNC community, Build a Block, raised ten Habitat homes for UNC employees in one year.  I’m curious what my fellow Hoos make of this?  Could UVA try something similar?

This short video features two families who talk about their pursuit of homeownership.  Great stuff!

What will you build? from Katherine Vance on Vimeo.

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Tracing Lines of “Perfect Affordability”

A different way of considering affordability along the 2012 NC2SD Bike & Build route. The size of blue marker represents the relative rate of homeownership (average = 58.5%) and the dashed line illustrates a "perfectly affordable" scenario (30% median income = median owner costs).

There are a variety of ways we can illustrate affordability.  Here’s a different way to consider yesterday’s data, which looked at the match (or, more often, the gap) between area median incomes and owner costs.  Some interesting trends immediately pop out when you plot these two variables against one another.  This is probably a simpler way to look at the whole sample of NC2SD route sites and how they tend to fall below the line of “perfect affordability.” Continue reading

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Where Does Monthly Income Cover Homeownership?

The difference between "affordable" and actual monthly payments in the places NC2SD will ride through this summer.

This might look like a elevation map for my upcoming bike trip, but it’s not.  Though, in terms of considering difficult parts of the journey, this illustrates where homeowner affordability is struggling.

To do this analysis, I used the traditional definition of “affordable” – 30 percent of household income going toward homeownership. Continue reading

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