© 2024 Public Radio East
Public Radio For Eastern North Carolina 89.3 WTEB New Bern 88.5 WZNB New Bern 91.5 WBJD Atlantic Beach 90.3 WKNS Kinston 88.5 WHYC Swan Quarter 89.9 W210CF Greenville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A fix to an affordable housing crisis? Greensboro's bold incentive program

In January, the city of Greensboro launched a $21 million loan fund to incentivize developers to build more affordable housing.

And with more than 40,000 cost-burdened households — those paying more than a third of their incomes on a place to live — the need for more options is great.

Housing & Neighborhood Development Director Michelle Kennedy says affordability is at a crisis point across the country for lots of reasons: Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at roughly 6.5% frustrating would-be buyers; inflationary pressures forcing more people to stay put rather than moving into new, slightly larger homes; and in so doing freeing up the most affordable units.

In 2023 the average sale price for townhouse and condo properties in Greensboro went up by nearly 20%. In the fourth quarter of last year the average single property sales price was more than $346,000. Kennedy says particularly impacted are low-income families and the elderly.

"What we’re seeing happening at a large scale is property owners are adjusting those rental rates to market rate rentals now that are sometimes double or triple what that individual may have been paying for the last 15 or 20 years," Kennedy said. "So, we’re seeing ourselves in this moment where older folks on fixed incomes really have very little housing options."

Kennedy says it’s time to look at new types of development, including models that haven’t been considered before, like co-housing options for seniors and micro-housing — such as tiny homes — on city-owned lots.

She adds that development plans are already underway for a community land trust in Greensboro to relieve pricing pressures using a shared equity model.