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One bedroom. No parking. One million dollars.
That was a headline in the Boston Globe yesterday. The story looks at a market where fixer-uppers now cost seven figures. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where average rent tops $3,300 per month, the city plans to spend $44 million to build an apartment complex to house public school teachers.
Our housing situation isn’t quite as dire as our friends in those historic harbor cities, but it’s on a troubling trajectory.
Between 2006 and 2016, average monthly apartment rent increased 53% in Mount Pleasant and 68% on the Peninsula. Maybe more surprising, rents also increased 60% in Goose Creek and Moncks Corner.
Home ownership isn’t getting easier either. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Opportunity Index finds a family earning the area median income – $56,010 – couldn’t qualify for a mortgage on 36% of the homes sold in the Tri-county region in 2016.
The cost of housing isn’t a new concern for the Lowcountry. Since 2000, there have been over a dozen reports studying the issue that have all come to the same conclusion– we have a regional problem and it will take the public and private sectors working together to solve it.
How can we accomplish this?
- expediting new housing development at a range of price points
- cutting red tape that adds cost to housing
- increasing density in targeted areas
- restructuring incentives
- expanding funding for housing trusts
We don’t have to accept a future with million dollar fixer-uppers. However, we do have to pull together and push for workable solutions for our region.
The Chamber’s new Housing Attainability Task Force met for the first time this week with that mission in mind – the Task Force is comprised of major employers representing the industry sectors that have among the highest turnover rates because their employees cannot afford to live near where they work and spend hours each day in traffic trying to get to and from their jobs. Members describe the issue at crisis levels and the Chamber is mobilizing to come up with some concrete solutions.
Stay tuned for much more on this issue in the near future.