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Housing…A Basic Human Need for All

At the very core of the "American Dream" is the concept of homeownership.  But for many citizens this dream seems all but impossible. Read on to find out more about the problem of affordable housing and then go to the "Participation" section of this Web site and discover how you can be part of the solution.

Q: What is affordable housing?

 A home is considered affordable if the household is spending less than 30 percent of its income on its monthly rent or mortgage payment (including principal, interest, taxes and insurance) and utilities.

Q: What is considered low-income?

A household with a median income at or below 80 percent of the median income for the area or community is commonly described as low-income.

In North Carolina

Q: What is the median income?

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the median income in 2006 is estimated at $54,555. A household earning 80 percent of the median income, or $43,644, would be considered low-income.

Q: What does the average home cost?

The average cost of an existing home in North Carolina was $223,059 at the end of 2007. 

Q: How much income is needed to afford the average home?

Assuming a mortgage of 90 percent of the home's value, an interest rate of 6 percent and a 30 year term, the monthly mortgage payment on the average priced home (above) would be $1,204.  Taxes and insurance would bump the payment up to $1,424.  Household income would need to be at least $4,747 per month or $56,964 per year for this payment to be considered affordable.

Q: Do renters have the same problem finding an affordable place to live?

According to the National Low Income Coalition, the estimated median income for renters was $30,401. In order for a payment to be affordable, it could not exceed $760 per month. With the average 2007 Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom apartment running $656, more than four in ten renters are unable to afford this apartment. And the situation is even worse for workers earning minimum wage.  It is estimated that they would have to work 98 hours per week, 52 weeks per year in order to afford the average two bedroom apartment.

Q: How critical is the need for affordable housing?

According to "The State of Housing in North Carolina," the shortage of affordable housing affects 20.7 percent of homeowners and 33.4 percent of renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing payments.

Q: Why is affordable housing important to you?

While affordable housing directly affects the families living at or below the poverty level, its impact is felt throughout the entire community. Studies show that homeownership creates more stable communities by decreasing crime rates and increasing educational achievement rates. Other benefits include:

  • Provides housing for the local workforce, especially lower-wage earners.
  • Provides an incentive for workforce employees that are essential to the quality of life in every community such as nurses, teachers, childcare workers, firefighters, police officers and other service-based jobs.
  • Increases jobs and improves job retention.
  • Expands the tax base.
  • Decreases commuter miles.
  • Attracts new businesses by providing a range of housing options for employees.


Homes4NC - Making a Difference For Affordable Housing

North Carolina Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Foundation
4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407
Phone: 336.294-1415 | Fax: 336.299.7872
E-Mail: dgreene@ncrealtors.org