Who Can Afford it?

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Housing Affordability in the Richmond Metropolitan Area

Affordable Housing Today

Because of recent economic events, many people believe that housing affordability is not as critical as it was five years ago, or even just nine months ago. But, even though housing prices have fallen and interest rates are at historic lows, the opportunity for residents to rent or purchase affordable housing is dependent on having available credit and a steady income—two factors that have also changed significantly, making it as difficult as ever to secure affordable housing in our area.

Affordable Housing in the Future

The Richmond region is home to more than 350,000 residents aged 20 and younger. Over the next generation, many of these young people will be finishing college, establishing careers, starting families, and looking for their first homes. At the same time, older residents, now in the workforce, will be ready to downsize to smaller homes suitable for retirement incomes. The modest starting salaries of the new generation of homebuyers and the reduced incomes of the downsizing retiring generation will create a huge demand by both populations for more affordable dwellings which don’t yet exist in our area.

Rental Housing

For the thirty-two percent of households in the Richmond area where residents pay rent, affordability is also a challenge. The mean wage in the Richmond area for those who rent housing is $15.07, which means that these wage earners can afford to rent an apartment for $784/month. With fair market rental rates at $925/month for a two bedroom apartment in the Richmond area, many residents who rent housing because they cannot afford to buy a home are still priced out of the market (information provided by the National Low Income Housing Coalition).