The Latest Efforts to Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis

Last modified on June 12th, 2017

Apartment buildingWhile there seems to be a lot of conversation about solving the affordable housing crisis, a recent study revealed that not a single county in the U.S. has enough affordable housing options to meet the needs of its qualifying lower income population.

In just over a decade, the percentage of people with very low income who could afford their rent payment decreased from 37 to 28 percent. Of course, in some metro areas, even people with moderate incomes are having trouble finding affordable homes. While it’s true that the federal government, states, and cities have taken steps to remedy the situation, their solutions have not kept up with the problem.

Luckily, some cities are enjoying success thanks to new efforts encouraging the development or rehabilitation of rental housing for lower income residents. This push has sparked property developers and managers to become part of the solution. As a property manager, it’s a move that might help your city and your business, alike.

Cities With Successful Affordable Housing Initiatives

The Property Management Program at Virginia Tech collaborated with NAHMA to produce a white paper that summarizes steps that five cities are taking to help provide more housing for people with low to moderate incomes. The following list summarizes the percentage of people in these metro areas who are burdened by the cost of their rent. It also compares these cities with the average for the entire country. The numbers reveal that it’s not just a problem that very impoverished people or that residents of certain high-priced cities have.

Percentage of renters with rent burdens:

  • Atlanta: 47.5 percent
  • Columbus: 45.8 percent
  • Denver: 48.5 percent
  • Minneapolis: 47.5 percent
  • San Diego: 56.8 percent

National Average: 50.6 percent

Measures taken to ease affordable housing problems:

  • Density bonuses: Cities may allow developers to allow for extra population density if they reserve at least a portion of housing for lower earners.
  • Tax relief: Since many urban areas are subject to high property taxes, cities may offer tax cuts for properties that provide low-income housing.
  • Accelerated permits: Cities may expedite building or rehabilitation permits to help increase the housing supply faster.
  • Land banks: This system helps developers get financing for land that contains buildings that are scheduled for demolition or renovation.
  • Lower parking requirements: Some cities may reduce their typical onsite parking requirements for buildings that are close to mass transportation.

How Do These City Actions Impact Property Managers?

Some cities are adopting these measures to help minimize the affordable housing crisis for its residents. Many of the successful programs encourage cooperation between the city and property managers or developers. This type of cooperation comes in the form of reducing the costs by providing cheaper housing in expensive areas. The price reduction lowers risk, improves profits, and gives landlords an incentive to consider offering more affordable housing. It might be worthwhile to determine if your city offers similar programs to help solve the greater problem and help you improve your own bottom line.

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