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5 Myths About Affordable Housing

If you have a conversation with the words “affordable housing,” many people automatically make negative assumptions. They believe you mean outdated, poorly designed, and densely packed public housing located in the inner city. Affordable housing receives an unfair stigma, which leads many people to form untrue, baseless assumptions. To help set the record straight, here are truths to several common myths about affordable housing.

Myth #1: “Affordable housing will lower property values in my community.”

This belief is arguably the most common myth. Numerous studies show that contemporary affordable housing developments have no negative impact on nearby property values. In some cases, affordable housing can actually contribute to increased property values. Property values are primarily determined by the condition of a particular property along with the overall development and prosperity in an area. Contemporary affordable housing developments are often indistinguishable from market rate properties, and designed to fit in the character, quality and value of the surrounding neighborhood.

Myth #2: “Affordable housing will look like “cheap housing.”

Affordable housing must comply with the same building design and zoning codes and restrictions, and design standards as market-rate housing. Since public money helps fund affordable housing, the units need to comply with additional restrictions and higher standards than market-rate housing in some cases. Affordable housing is not “affordable” because it’s built with low-quality materials; it is affordable in the sense that it provides decent housing options for working families, disabled individuals and senior citizens at a cost they can afford. In fact, most homeowners are usually unaware of which units are affordable housing because they tend blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, or in some cases improve the aesthetic character of the neighborhood. This includes the same building material.

Myth #3: “Affordable housing creates more traffic.”

Many published studies show that affordable housing residents own fewer cars and drive less often than those in the surrounding neighborhood. Most residents actually invest public transportation. Building affordable housing near job centers can help alleviate traffic congestion and support increased use of public transportation. Therefore, affordable housing can help reduce a significant amount of traffic by allowing working people to live near their jobs. This is especially true for multi-family and infill development in more densely zoned neighborhoods.

Myth #4: “Affordable housing negatively impacts a community’s infrastructure.”

According to a study from the U.S. Department of Transportation, development of affordable housing in appropriately sized multi-family buildings and in-fill lots maximizes infrastructure like roads, water and sewer, and other public investments.

Myth #5: “Affordable housing will bring lots of large families to the community, thereby increasing the burden on schools.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, average households in affordable housing have fewer children than those living in owner-occupied, single family homes. Additionally, when families do not have affordable housing, they are usually forced to move frequently. As a result, their children’s academic performance becomes disrupted when they transfer schools, which usually leads to the child having to repeat a grade. Finally, due to additional children enrolling, affordable housing helps attract and retain good teachers within the school district that can help children catch up academically.

Conclusions

Hunt Mortgage Group offers a broad range of financing solutions to affordable multi-family owners and developers. Loans range from $3 million to $300 million. Hunt Mortgage Group has valued relationships with large property management and development firms, as well as with selected nonprofit housing organizations and public housing authorities. For more information about affordable housing options, contact the experts at Hunt Mortgage Group today.

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