Affordable Housing Crisis Affecting Millennials Moving to Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte is the number one city in America where millennials say they want to live. But many can’t afford the cost of a new apartment.
“I really like Charlotte. It’s kind of a bigger city, a lot bigger than I’m used to,” says Elizabeth neighborhood resident Jeree Rogers.
Rogers moved to Charlotte two years ago. Like other millennials she’s had to weigh the costs and benefits of living in the city.
“With my student loans being so expensive, I need a roommate to kinda live a comfortable lifestyle,” she explains.
The average rent in the Queen City is nearly $1145 a month.
That’s higher than most cities in our region, according to Charlotte-based tracking firm Real Data.
Rent in Columbia averages just under $1000 a month. Greenville-Spartanburg comes in at $946. And Greensboro-Winston-Salem averages less than $850.
“We’ve got to find out solutions. How we help close those gaps, right? How we close the gaps between what a person has and what they can afford to pay,” explains Charlotte Housing Board member Ray McKinnon.
He says teachers, firefighters, and nurses are having a hard time affording to live in the city.
“We’ve got to get out of our silos, work together collaboratively,” McKinnon says.
A task force in Charlotte is looking into what can be done. It’s made up of people from the public and private sectors.
They’ve already come up with several ideas. They include creating a charitable investment fund. Also, having the city or county buy apartments from the 1970’s and 80’s to keep them from being torn down for new developments.
“Incomes have been rather stagnant so it’s difficult for someone, especially starting out,” says real estate agent Jonathan Osman.
Osman says millennials who plan to stay awhile should look into buying.
“Somebody paying a thousand dollars a month can easily afford about $175,000 dollars on a 30-year fixed mortgage,” Osman says.
He says right now there are 72 homes for sale in Mecklenburg County between $150,000 and $179,000.
They are in neighborhoods near Steele Creek, Plaza Midwood, and Ballantyne.
Back in Elizabeth, Rogers isn’t thinking that far ahead.
“Kinda have to make a decision pretty soon. If my rent keeps increasing then I might not be able to afford to live in the city. I might have to get a cheaper alternative,” she says.