The Housing Crisis Continues!

Not only have we seen record increases in housing costs over the past year, but now the interest rates have increased to a point where the combination of housing purchase prices and housing financing rates have put homeownership out of reach for even moderate-income potential homebuyers. We are also now seeing cost burdens on the rise for moderate-income renters who are having to spend over 30% of their incomes on housing costs. Many lower-income families have become excessively cost burdened, having to spend over 50% of their incomes on housing costs. The increases in insurance and property tax assessments have certainly added to these cost burdens that property owners are passing along to tenants in the form of increased rent.

We have discussed possible solutions to these issues before in this column, but the problem is getting worse rather than better. For homeownership solutions, we have listed condominiums, townhomes, smaller lots/smaller homes, and accessory dwelling units as possible solutions to the housing cost crises. We also are working on shared equity programs that will be a part of the affordability solution. But we will need much more in the form of government and private sector subsidies to really make a dent in the affordability crises in housing.

Another issue that is coming into play is the growing need for housing retrofits for seniors. These retrofits may include no-step entries, wider door openings, and no-step tubs and showers and grab bars in bathrooms. The projection for the next 15 years is that 50 million Americans will be 65 or over, with 17.5 million of those being in their 80s.

We have plenty of work to do in order to reach solutions for these issues. Let’s make it happen!

Roy Nash