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Downturn means cheaper land for affordable housing

Posted April 8, 2009

— The economic downturn is a double-edged sword for affordable housing advocates. The slumping housing market means land prices are cheap enough for them to scoop up development sites, but foreclosures and rising unemployment mean a greater demand for their services.

Affordable housing More affordable housing needed in recession

"Sadly, there's a real need for more affordable housing as we've experienced job loss and the like," said Gregg Warren, president of Downtown Housing Improvement Corp.

The 35-year-old nonprofit has built or purchased 25 apartment complexes across North Carolina and has built or renovated 1,400 homes in Wake County. The housing is all for low-income, elderly or disabled residents, and most houses sell for $125,000 to $175,000.

Brenda High Sanders moved to DHIC's Meadow Creek subdivision in southeast Raleigh about five years ago, buying a house for about $130,000.

"To get the size of house with the amenities that I have inside would cost so much more in some communities," Sanders said.

Warren said DHIC plans to start two more communities by this summer: An 80-unit apartment complex in Cary for seniors and a 41-unit complex in Raleigh for disabled single people.

"There are those folks who are in adjustable rate mortgages who can't perhaps make mortgage payments. There are those who have lost jobs who are looking for more affordable housing," he said. "We can't serve all of it by any means, but we want to try and do our share."


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  • Theseus Apr 9, 2009

    Hey, wait a minute, here! I thought Chris Dodd, Barney Franks, Maxine Waters and Franklin Raines already gave us "affordable" housing and are now moving on to provide us with "affordable" health care. Gee, I hope "affordable" health care is as successful as "affordable" housing was.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Apr 9, 2009

    why do people who cant afford these nice houses get them, shouldnt affordable housing be small ranch homes until you can get back on your feet, not nice two stories with amazing appliances and a garage, the rest of us work hard for it why shouldnt they

  • ncguy71 Apr 9, 2009

    "Affordable housing" is one reason why the housing bubble burst.

    "Affordable housing" should be re-defined as housing that someone buys when they have a down payment, perfect credit and someone that can live within their means.

    I think the free market is working perfectly now. If you have spotless credit and a significant down payment, you can get a mortgage and buy a house. If you do not have perfect credit and you don't have a down payment, then you can't get a mortgage and therefore you become a renter or you live with relatives.

    Housing is not a right in this country as the Democrats think it is. Yes - everyone should have a roof over their heads. But if you don't have a down payment and your credit is horrible, then you should be renting. Simple as that.

  • kre2208 Apr 9, 2009

    Buying a pre-existing home is extremely expensive. You have to pay for the markup done by the developer. You have to pay for the labor. So on and so forth.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Apr 9, 2009

    don't they mean to say....FREE housing to those that don't work, compliments of our Democratic leadership!

  • Pack1966 Apr 8, 2009

    I don't understand the cost effectiveness of buying land, building materials, appliances for NEW housing versus buying some of the existing homes that currently sit vacant (for whatever reason). I want to support Habitat for Humanity and like organizations, but it just doesn't seem they're making good business decisions. I'm good with helping those less fortunate to obtain homes. But I bought an existing home versus building a new one because it was more cost effective. What justifies the added expense of building new homes for families who need assistance? Just something (else) that puzzles me.

  • colliedave Apr 8, 2009

    Wait a year or two and a number of these "affordable" homes will be in foreclosure. And these homes also drive down the values of homes in nearby neighborhoods.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 8, 2009

    All of this needs to end. It is just wasting money.