Movers: Keep an Eye on Affordable Housing Voting Results Across the Nation
When it comes to moving, the 2016 elections made an impact. No, this isn’t addressing the folks who say they’ll move to Canada (or elsewhere) because of the results in the presidential race, it’s for people who may be considering a move to find affordable housing in the U.S.
What’s affordable housing? According to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, it is housing that costs, in mortgage payments or rent, 30 percent or less than a family’s income. HUD estimates that 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual income on housing.
That’s not surprising considering U.S. Census numbers on houses completed in 2015, the most recent year for which information is available. The median size of those homes was 2,467 square feet – the median price of houses sold that year was $296,400. Both those numbers are out of range of many buyers.
In addition to the price, millennials say they can’t afford housing because of high student loan debt, though some dispute the link. Regardless, the Census Bureau says the home ownership rate is now 62.9% – the same level as in 1965.
Affordable housing before the voters
Following are results – the list is not exhaustive – of some housing measures on the ballot this week:
Voters in Portland approved, with 62 percent of the vote, a $258.4 million bond proposal to build or preserve 1,300 affordable housing units, according to The Oregonian newspaper. The city’s housing bureau estimates that the current shortage is 23,845 affordable units.
Alameda County and Santa Clara County apparently passed housing and rent protection measures. The Alameda County issue provides for up to $580 million for affordable housing and won with the support of 72 percent of voters, according to TV station KRON. In Santa Clara County, a $950 million affordable housing measure, as of Wednesday morning, had slightly more than the two-thirds majority of votes needed for passage, according to Palo Alto Online.
San Francisco and Los Angeles voters passed measures to help the homeless.
Charlotte voters approved $15 million toward an effort to build or rehabilitate 5,000 housing units within three years. More than 70 percent of voters supported the issue, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Asheville voters approved $25 million for affordable housing, with 71 percent of voters backing the measure.
Greensboro voters approved $25 million to build or refurbish affordable housing. It passed with the support of 68 percent of voters.
Orange County, which includes Chapel Hill, approved $5 million toward an affordable housing plan to repair 240 existing homes and build 438 houses and rental units.
Voters agreed to spend $40 million on affordable housing. More than 57 percent of voters signed off on the measure.