By ERIN FLYNN JAY
As the housing crunch continues throughout the country, some cities are planning for growth when it comes to building homes for average families.
Mark Buskuhl, owner of Ninebird Properties, a Texas-based investment firm, said Dallas is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation and has been a top destination for families looking to relocate.
“With its booming job market and affordable cost of living, it’s no surprise that Dallas is planning for growth when it comes to building housing for the average American family,” he said.
Buskuhl said the city has implemented initiatives to increase housing options, such as the “GrowSouth” program which focuses on revitalizing and developing housing in southern Dallas. Additionally, the city has zoned areas specifically for affordable housing developments, making it easier for people to find a home within their budget.
Similar to Dallas, Denver has seen a significant increase in population growth over the past decade. With this influx of residents, the city has recognized the need for more housing options for families.
“In response, Denver has implemented programs such as the ‘Affordable Housing Fund’ which provides financial incentives for developers to build affordable housing units,” said Buskuhl. “The city also offers down payment assistance programs and collaborates with local non-profits to provide resources for low-income families looking to purchase a home.”
Zach Shelley, a real estate agent and land developer based in Dallas, Texas, said Austin, located in the heart of the Lone Star State, has also seen a surge in population growth over the past decade.
“With its booming tech industry and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder that more people are flocking to call this city home,” Shelley said.
To address the growing demand for housing in Austin, city officials have implemented various strategies to build affordable and accessible housing for the average American family.
“This includes incentivizing developers to build affordable units, providing tax breaks for low-income households, and investing in public transportation to make living outside of the city center more feasible,” said Shelley.
Additionally, the city has also implemented policies to combat gentrification and displacement of low-income communities.
“This includes programs that provide financial assistance for homeowners to renovate their homes and stay in their neighborhoods, as well as initiatives to develop affordable housing in areas that are currently undergoing gentrification,” said Shelley.
In California, home prices are considered unaffordable for the average family in many areas but there are people who are working on that.
Joseph Melara, a real estate broker in Palm Desert, California, said he actively collaborates with the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, a non-profit organization founded in 1982 that is dedicated to enhancing housing opportunities and living conditions for low and moderate-income individuals and families in the region.
CVHC undertakes several crucial initiatives to address housing challenges effectively. One of their primary focuses is on the development of affordable housing, encompassing rental apartments and homeownership opportunities.
“We’re committed to creating safe, sustainable, and affordable housing choices for our local residents,” said Melara. “Additionally, we’re deeply engaged in community revitalization efforts, which involve renovating existing housing, improving infrastructure, and promoting economic development in underserved areas. These efforts collectively contribute to enhancing our residents’ quality of life.”
Another significant aspect of their work involves homeownership programs, where they provide resources and support to help low and moderate-income families achieve their dream of owning a home.
“These programs often include financial education, down payment assistance, and affordable mortgage options,” said Melara. “For those in immediate need of housing assistance, CVHC offers rental assistance programs to ensure that individuals and families can access decent housing in our region.”
To empower residents further, CVHC provides various services and programs including educational workshops, youth initiatives, and social services. These initiatives aim to create a strong sense of community and improve overall well-being. Additionally, Melara added that CVHC actively engages in advocacy efforts to champion policies and initiatives that promote affordable housing and address housing-related issues in the Coachella Valley.
During the pandemic, many people moved to the Carolinas and Florida, so communities in these states are adjusting to the influx of new residents.
moveBuddha reports that Myrtle Beach, SC, is building the most homes in the country per capita, with 10,688 new homes per 100,000 people, while six Florida cities rank in the top 10 for new home construction.
North Port in Florida ranks number two with 5,715 new homes per 100,000 people while Lakeland – an emerging gem in Florida’s housing market – ranks number three with 3,410 new homes per 100,000 people.
“Myrtle Beach has a variety of housing programs to support low-income families, such as the Housing Choice Voucher program,” said Ryan Carrigan, founder of moveBuddha. “Lakeland also has housing assistance programs for low-income families and the disabled.”
Carrigan noted that both cities have lower amounts of permitting and regulation than other regions, which allows for more affordable housing to be built for the average American family.
The national housing shortage hurts average families the most.
The median household income was just under $75,000 in 2022 and according to data from the National Association of Realtors, in June the market was short about 320,000 listings worth up to $256,000, which is considered the affordability range for households earning up to $75,000 a year.
Redfin now estimates that buyers in today’s market need to earn $114,627 a year to afford a median-priced home. That’s up 15% from a year ago and more than 50% since the start of the pandemic. It’s the highest annual income necessary to afford a home on record, leaders there say.
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