Affordable Housing and Housing Affordability

Or better yet do both


As long as the business of providing housing remains profit driven, you can be assured that new apartment complexes will be geared toward the luxury market. Cost of land compels developers to maximize their rents, and putting luxury finishing touches, spaces, and services into their buildings is how you do it.
The only tool available to mitigate those land costs is to go higher and spread out the land cost per unit over more units. Unfortunately, going higher will also command higher rent dollars as people will pay for views from those higher floors. It’s quite the conundrum.


Also important to note that you could get away from the higher land costs by building further out. I think our development pattern still revolves around this model.

Well that scenario doesn’t work for Raleigh so what do you do now? Conundrum indeed.


Well, for its part, the city can stop building suburban style public housing on expensive city center land. If platforming the car is going to be a defining feature of the public housing that the city builds, then it should be building that further from the city center in a more car centric context.


So my friend lives in Grosvenor Gardens, the complex that the city purchased to “protect affordable housing” or something a while back. She said today she got a notice of rent going up 40%.


Did that actually take place, the purchase? I see CASA was actually making the purchase with the city chipping in. Maybe it never took place or it’s still in progress.

However… CASA acquires historic apartment community in downtown Raleigh to preserve as affordable housing - CASA


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Wow, I’m out of the loop but I am surprised to hear those are (were?) remotely affordable. Beautiful buildings in a prime location.

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I confirmed with her that the CASA purchase did go through at the beginning of the year. The property manager didn’t change from VG Murray and Co. It’s not clear who’s responsible for the increase yet but she said rent was already adjusted upward in January after the purchase.

She’s running it down with both of them. She suspects income-based rent changes, which really doesn’t work out for her due to extenuating circumstances. Could also be only certain units are marked for affordable housing (but she is in a studio which was historically below-market).

AFAIK there’s no legal restrictions about any of this, so asking nicely and then maybe public shaming is about all we’ve got.

Appears that enough of the residents complained to warrant them posting a new letter on people’s doors:

My friend worked at a non-profit for years and immediately pointed out that non-profits usually do run a deficit, supported by outside donations or government money.

On one hand these units were pretty well below market rates. On the other, isn’t that kind of the point? The adjustment, anecdotally from her experience, makes this place not so much better than any other option… Her small, old, non-accessible studio is now over $1k.

6 years ago I had a nicer and larger ‘luxury’ 1 bedroom for $900 on Centennial. With a washer/dryer! Of course, that’s 6 years ago.


The cost of everything in America has basically doubled over the last 5 years. Not sure why people would expect housing to be any different.


Well as wages haven’t been keeping up over the same amount of time so goes housing affordability.


It seems on reflection that this was kind of a messaging mismatch. If it’s true that the original owners were basically taking a loss to provide affordable rent, but the end had come and the property needed to be sold, then CASA is basically doing damage control with the help of the city by trying to keep the structure itself in place in hopes that it can be maintained stably in the future.

On a larger scale this is probably a win (no teardown and reconstruction, one more ‘non-luxury’ complex still exists) but for existing residents benefitting from low rent which was basically insulated from the market (somehow) it surely feels like a betrayal after the organization got praise for affordability and their rent is going up dramatically.

I feel like it highlights the duality of “affordable housing” and how much trouble we’re already in. What CASA is doing is pretty reasonably “affordable housing” in respect to trying to stay at the lower end of the market. But the market itself is unaffordable for lots of people. The only way to make rent in this area affordable for most people is to be entirely irrational and ‘unsustainable’ from the perspective of the market.


WRAL also ran an article on this last night.

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This is really disturbing and disappointing to read: “housing deficit of roughly 17,000 units”

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Yet just about every new development gets blocked, delayed, and/or reduced in scope by NIMBYs, while at the same time yammering about lack of affordable housing


One of the better videos that I’ve watched lately.


Just watched this and overall it’s pretty good stuff, but could go a bit harder on critiquing each quadrant.

Conservative and Libertarian NIMBYs tend to be anti-transit.

Progressive and Environmentalist NIMBYs tend to use isolated examples of gentrification as a blanket excuse to ban all new development regardless of where it occurs in a city.

It is a rare branch of issues that crosses the usual political lines and I found it pretty interesting.

That’s pretty much sums up Mary Black and Jane Harrison. I’m not wrong they ran there agendas on that.

For the record, my rent for a studio+ apartment in the building at the corner of Ashe and Hillsborough street (literally the outer boundary of downtown) was $595 just 5 years ago. I could even sunbathe or have brunch on the roof outside my kitchen windovw.
For a native, these prices are ridiculous. Sure, we may have gotten a few new developments and storefronts that have opened in the tiime since, but literally nothing has drastically changed about the amount of benefits or amenities downtown Raleigh living has to offer.

It’s downright distressing to see these numbers for new housing while older places are either getting demolished and replaced, bought and flipped for profit, or gobbled up solely for the purpose short term rentals / tourist housing.

(Bit of a tangent but I hate how in a market suffering from a housing stock shortage, there are several older apartments in cameron village on airbnb that actual citizens could use for long term housing but can’t because a single person is renting them all out for short term visitors. It’s literally maddening and only drives this ridiculous rental price inflation for housing for city citizens! Not a strictly “Raleigh issue”, but it’s why it’s so hard not to scoff at $1300/mo being a “good deal” for renting young professionals. )

Reading “$4000/mo for a 3bd in Raleigh” makes me want to scream.


Tackling the affordable housing crisis would require policies that are outside the purview of anything American politics ever talks about anymore.