This year's HIVE conference, Reignite the Dream: Affordability for Purpose and Profit, intends to bring innovation into the workforce housing space, drawing new financing, new design, and process innovation. As this article explains, it's a critical moment in time to bring more housing options into this space.
The traditional image of a renter household has undergone some changes over the last 10 years. Renter households are now drawing in those who are older, wealthier and with children. Developers have responded to this demographic demand shift by changing the supply that they’re bringing to market. Rather than continuing to develop a mix of affordable and luxury properties, they’ve shifted to luxury and single-family homes. This leaves a major void in the workforce housing space: one that is impacting millions of Americans each year.
According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), there are currently 43.3 million renter households in the U.S., which account for nearly 37 percent of all households, a number that is continuing to grow at an average rate of roughly one million per year since 2010. Of those renter households, almost half—21 million—are cost-burdened, meaning that their rent accounts for more than 30 percent of their income. Moreover, of those cost-burdened households, 12 million (approximately 28 percent) are spending over 50 percent of their income on rent.
Since 2000, there has been a 9 percent decline in class-B and -C multifamily units as a percentage of total stock. In 2001, 63 percent of new rental housing supply on the market was comprised of units priced below $1,100/month. In stark contrast, only 35 percent of new supply in 2016 was priced below $1,100/month. Moreover, newly built units renting for $1,500/month and above soared from 15 percent to 40 percent during the same period.