Is a Unit Affordable if it's not Available?
We spend a lot of time here at ViaHome thinking about affordable housing, and we welcome you to check out our blog where we will be analyzing affordable housing in depth.
One of the things we are focused on are trends, and one big trend stands out to us; despite averaging 80,000 – 100,000 affordable housing starts every year, the shortage of affordable housing crisis appears to be getting worse.
We are going to be exploring that paradox over the next few weeks. But first, let’s look at the numbers:
The Drop in Affordable Housing Since 2010
A study that was just released by Freddie Mac suggests that the number of homes and apartments that were affordable for very low-income family in the U.S. declined by more than 60 percent between 2010 and 2016. Similarly, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report “The Gap” indicates that the deficit in available affordable units worsened between 2013 and 2015 by roughly 1 million units.
The decline in housing affordability was not just limited to a small geographical area or a certain region. Housing in California and Florida was already deemed unaffordable before 2010, and between 2010 and 2016, it also declined in Colorado, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Washington. As of today, no metropolitan area currently has enough affordable housing to meet demand.
Affordable, but Unavailable?
Low vacancy rates, an influx of renters into center cities, and the lingering effects of the housing crisis have all squeezed the affordable housing stock. As a result, more higher income people are moving into formerly affordable housing units. Nearly half of the units available to lower income families are currently occupied by higher income households. This effect becomes more important as developers produce unsubsidized “naturally occurring” affordable housing; these units currently have low rents but also do not always have the income restrictions typical of most affordable housing developments.
What’s ViaHome’s Take?
Is housing ever affordable if we can’t guarantee they will be available to lower-income families? We don’t think so. At ViaHome, we are committed to supporting affordable housing, that’s why we include income restrictions in all the units we finance, ensuring that the units we support remain in the affordable housing stock for years to come.
If you want to help preserve stock of affordable housing across the country, get in touch with us at ViaHome. We are creating a platform that helps pair developers who are interested in building affordable housing developments with investors who are looking to put their money into smart, socially conscious investments. We are looking forward to hearing from you.