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Task force says Chatham needs more affordable housing

Posted February 22, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— A report to Chatham County commissioners says that recent development trends have divided the county and priced people out of some areas.

Homes, housing for sale Group: Affordable housing needed in Chatham County

In recent years, the eastern half of the county has seen a housing boom, with development springing up close to areas such as Cary and Chapel Hill. Meanwhile, experts say, the western portion of Chatham hasn't seen that same growth.

Some county officials believe that trend has created a dearth of affordable housing.

"The homes that were being created were for people who were in a higher-income category," Commissioner Carl Thompson said.

Real-estate broker Katy O'Leary said that weekly, she has to tell some customers that they can't afford a home in the eastern part of the county. Home prices there run from $350,000 and up, she said.

O'Leary said the disparity of housing prices has an easy explanation: "The dirt's too expensive."

High lot prices force developers to build higher-end homes, she said.

A property reassessment last year reflected the trend, showing home values were up by an average of 24 percent.

Among other recommendations, the report by the county Affordable Housing Task Force suggests that developers could be required to build less-expensive housing.

We could "actually require developers, maybe, to set aside certain portions of their development as lots for moderate-income homes," Thompson said.

The Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties indicated that it opposes that proposal.

"It's just an issue of legality. We don't believe you can do that in North Carolina," said Frank Thomas, with the HBA-DOC.

That proposal could even create a greater difference in home prices, Thomas said. Developers could build even more expensive homes to compensate for the cost of building some lower-priced houses, he said.

County commissioners said they will give the report further study.

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  • Hardrock757 Feb 23, 2009

    The commissioners are the problem!!!! They are the ones who do not allow enough development!!! If they would allow more development then the price of lots/homes would be significantly less. Also, in that part of Chatham County there is essentially no commercial zoning. So, how is anyone suppose to afford a house (at any price) when the commissioners will not allow new businesses in to employ people?

    It just makes me sick to think about people sitting around saying developers need to give more when there are so many developers going bankrupt already!!!

  • Bechtellaw Feb 23, 2009

    I hope God judges each of you in the same way you are judging others. Some of us could at one time afford the same as some of you but with job cutbacks that makes us worthless in your eyes. Instead of showing off why don't you help others.

  • tootiefrootie Feb 23, 2009

    If I am buying a 750K house, I sure don't want a 120K home just down the street. Please, there is a reason why those high-dollar lots are in place, folks who want to have a nice home and property can afford it, why should they have to have give up their dream to accommodate those who have less. I'm growing weary of the "since you're better off than some then you should give some to those less unfortunate" 'tude.

    Only going to get worse. Still upset that this country is bailing out banks and mortgages of those who bought a home they could not afford on risky terms.

  • tootiefrootie Feb 23, 2009

    >>>We could "actually require developers, maybe, to set aside certain portions of their development as lots for moderate-income homes," Thompson said.

  • oakmont Feb 23, 2009

    They must provide affordable housing, because the commissioners and their agenda hungry coalition are over taxing lower income property owner's to fuel their agenda.

  • edwar065 Feb 23, 2009

    Every house that has ever been built is "affordable" to someone. If one cannot afford a $350K house in a neighborhood, go to another neighborhood where the "affordable" houses are $120K. It's as simple as that.

  • stonky Feb 23, 2009

    People move there to avoid the low-income people....leave them alone..

  • chfdcpt Feb 23, 2009

    On the other hand, without those real expensive homes, the tax base drops.

  • Weaker Pelosi Feb 23, 2009

    Well, sometimes the truth needs to be told.

  • trunkmonkee1971 Feb 23, 2009

    "Real-estate broker Katy O'Leary said that weekly, she has to tell some customers that they can't afford a home in the eastern part of the county."

    Boo hoo hoo ........