As we read the news of the strong real estate market in our area and beyond, another important issue needs to also stay in the forefront – housing affordability. Cape Fear REALTORS® strongly supports the concept and provision of affordable housing for all income levels and calls on every community to address and provide equitable housing solutions for its residents.
Data shows that housing affordability needs to be viewed as a component of economic development, enhanced livability of a community, and an improvement to the quality of life. Therefore, policies should be adopted at all levels of government that encourage the production of affordable housing.
Statewide, more than 2 million low-income households lack safe, decent or affordable housing. According to 2019 data released by the N.C. Housing Coalition, 24% of homeowners and 45% of renters in New Hanover County spend more than 30% of income on housing. In order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at $993 a month, a family needs to earn $39,720 per year. However, the estimated renter median household income in the county is $33,024. The average renter in the county can only afford rent of $664 per month.
Cape Fear REALTORS® are working with government officials at all levels to address this issue. On the local level, items such as reducing regulatory fees, streamlining the building permit and approval process, and permitting by-right development add to opportunity for the development of affordable housing.
Cape Fear REALTORS® members are serving on the City of Wilmington/New Hanover County Workforce Housing Advisory Committee, bringing with them the experience and insights of REALTORS® working on these policies around the nation.
Our recently published policy paper includes more details on the types of policies and practices that are bringing innovative solutions to this issue around the nation.
We also need to remain focused on economic development issues that will bring higher wage jobs to the area therefore enhancing every resident’s access to affordable housing.
Source: BLS Occupational Employment Statistics for the metro area, New Hanover and Pender combined. Provided by Dr. Adam Jones, Reginal Economist and Department Chair of Economics & Finances at UNCW.
Cape Fear REALTORS® and its nearly 3,000 members are the region’s Voice of Real Estate. Cape Fear REALTORS® through advocacy, education, and community involvement support efforts to protect the rights of property owners, to promote the availability of housing, and to provide resources to guarantee every individual has the right to share in the “American Dream”. For further information on this topic and the association, please visit www.capefear.realtor or contact the Cape Fear REALTORS® at 910-762-7400.
Cece Nunn - Sep 20, 2021
Jenny Callison - Sep 20, 2021
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