Wednesday, August 30, 2023 / by Tim Elder
Affordable housing opportunities are being created in Greenville in order to address the challenges we are facing from the combination of low inventory and high prices to the more recently rising interest rates. Having previously been low on the political priority for years due to the political and practical complexity of housing production, skyrocketing housing prices have finally captured the attention of lawmakers at the state and local levels across the United States. While the greatest barrier to affordable housing throughout the United States is overly restrictive zoning regulations, each area is addressing the need for affordable housing in different ways. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development is even weighing in with their set of best practices for communities struggling with housing shortages. Other assistance from HUD is coming via technical assistance to ensure that local government’s infrastructure investment plans are considering housing needs.
As advocates for increasing housing supply, REALTORS have pitched in to ease the burden of housing affordability through federal innovations focused on the tax code as well as through updated credit scoring models designed to responsibly expand mortgage credit. Federal innovations include increasing the amount of capital gains a homeowner can exclude on the sale of their primary residence while annually adjusting it for inflation. Attracting private investment for rehabilitating owner-occupied homes by offering tax credits to those in areas more expensive to rehabilitate than appraisal values will support. And finally, for those wanting to convert unused commercial buildings to residential or mixed-use properties, tax incentives are being offered. As for updated credit scoring models, positive rental history and utility payments are now being used as indicators of credit as of 2022.
But let us look at the opportunities being created in Greenville. Affordable, workforce and senior housing is coming to Unity Park as a mixed-income neighborhood that is reflective of the entire community. By land-banking 8 acres, the city is using the land for the five new housing development projects. Furthermore, they have incentivized affordable housing development within the park area and nearby neighborhoods by creating the Unity Park Character Code in 2020. Others in the private sector have joined in creating housing with an affordability component. These projects can be viewed here.