The Affordable Housing Enigma

It is a battle that must be addressed, but one lacking a clear solution. And although nearly everyone in the apartment industry and beyond seem to acknowledge the affordable housing crisis, little has been done to make genuine headway in what continues to be a prominent national issue.

The statistics are alarming. Thirty percent of renters spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing, when spending 30 percent is considered rent-burdened. The cost of housing is rising at nearly double the rate of wages. A vast collection of additional data tells a similar story.

While continued efforts from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Urban Land Institute have helped, and increased limits afforded to government-sponsored enterprises Fannie and Freddie Mac are a step in the right direction, neither has made an ultra-significant dent in conquering the crisis.

A broken political system, particularly at the federal levels but also on the state and municipal levels, hasn’t helped. The crisis is frequently acknowledged by politicians, but usually with dismissive comments such as: “We know it’s a broken system, but there are really no viable solutions.” Another component is developers’ increasing propensity to favor Class Triple-A-Plus developments and their misperception that affordable housing cannot be profitable.

As a result, the nation’s policemen, nurses, firemen and other first-responders struggle to find quality affordable housing within reasonable proximity to their occupations. Here’s a look at some of the key components of the affordable-housing conundrum and what might be done to make headway:

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