Housing Crisis is the Status Quo
Continuing the conversation… It’s no secret. In fact, in a world that’s increasingly more polarized, it’s one of the few things everyone seems to agree on – there’s a housing crisis. And there are a thousand ways, big and small, that housing problems impact our quality of life and very few of us remain unscathed whether we’re conscious of them or not.
Whenever one of those annual polls is conducted to determine people’s biggest concerns, housing is always at or near the top. And sadly, that’s been true for so long that the idea of a housing crisis is now just part of the status quo that we’re resigned to live with and continue to complain about..
In many ways, our sleepy little beach town has become the poster-child for housing problems. Despite our small stature and relative obscurity, we’ve been showing up on “Most Expensive Places” lists for at least the last ten years and in early June, a local Grand Jury Report called SC County the second most expensive place to live in the Country.
In order to buy an average home, a local worker with $50,000 down has to earn $400,000/yr and make monthly payments of $8,830. (Nevermind that they’d never get their offer accepted with only $50,000 down!) None of it sounds very local to me, which is why the vast majority of buyers are coming from elsewhere.
And not to be outdone by the harsh truths of the home purchase market, the National Low Income Housing Coalition recently named SC County the most expensive rental market in the Country. That’s #1 out of a possible 3,143 counties in the U.S.!
Here are the facts that earned us that dubious distinction: The market rent for a 2br rental in SC is $3,293/mo and renters would have to earn an average “housing wage” of $63.33 an hour to afford it. Trick Question: How many readers who own rentals just thought to themselves: “Wow, maybe it’s time to raise my rents!”.
For those who think the housing and rental markets are two different things that exist independently of one another, consider this: When the real estate market tumbled into the abyss in 2008 and people were losing homes at an alarming rate and others were too scared to consider buying, rents soared to new heights.
Why? Because everyone has to live somewhere and when homeowners were evicted, they rented. And when people were too afraid to buy, they rented. And since we aren’t building many more houses these days, when more people compete for the existing low supply of rentals, the rents go up!
Next Week: The housing crisis gets personal