Millions of Americans in search of affordable housing

(NBC News) – The nation’s booming economy has caused housing prices to soar.

Despite relatively low-interest rates, the price of a home is too high for many potential home buyers and low-cost rental units are in short supply in many communities. That’s left many Americans calling for greater access to affordable housing.

Experts say for housing to be affordable it should cost no more than 30 percent of net income.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the city is adding residents faster than homes. One study said in 2017 alone the area had 27,000 fewer affordable housing units than it needed.

Richard Buttimer, of the University of North Carolina Charlotte, has led a study of the problem in the queen city.

“There’s a lot of things that are causing this you can’t just point to one single thing and say this is the magic bullet, if we solve this we solve the entire problem,” said Buttimer.

But there are private and public efforts to solve it. In California, with one of highest costs of living in the country, tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google have all pledged millions to make housing affordable. California’s governor even signed a bill to impose statewide caps on rent increases, but critics say it’s counterproductive.

“Nobody in their right mind is going to deploy millions of dollars in capital to build housing when they’re going to be subject to price controls in a 15-year period,” said Daniel Yukelson with the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.

Former President Jimmy Carter has dedicated countless hours and endless amounts of energy to building homes for the non-profit habitat for humanity. He says the charity’s principles can be used to improve access to housing.

“That is to let people build their own homes to reduce price and then to let families to build their own homes and be responsible for them,” Mr. Carter said.


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