CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new national study looked at housing underproduction in the U.S. and ranks Charlotte 30th for lack of housing in the country.
While it seems like new houses and apartment buildings are going up almost every day, the study says it's not enough to keep up.
"Even with the level of production you’re seeing in Charlotte, it’s not keeping pace with those drivers of housing needs,” explained Mike Kingsella, CEO of Up For Growth.
Kingsella's organization is behind the study, titled “Housing Underproduction in the U.S.” It found North Carolina’s housing deficit spiked 275% from 2012 to 2019, lacking more than 46,165 homes.
Charlotte makes up almost half of the state's deficit, lacking 21,622 homes. In other words, there are more people than homes available.
"Systemic under-building relative to job creation and population growth lead to home prices growing at a much more rapid clip than the national average,” said Kingsella.
He added that these issues are making homeownership harder to obtain and rent prices steeper in Charlotte; and that’s before the pandemic.
“We have been dealing with pretty significant cost increases since the pandemic started,” said Julie Porter, president of DreamKey Partners.
DreamKey is an affordable housing developer. Porter said construction costs have been making it tougher to build. They have 2,600 units in service and have built 500 single-family homes. Despite challenges, Porter said more solutions are on the way.
“We have, right now, almost 1,900 units that are in process in one way or another,” she said.
The affordable units are made possible through Charlotte’s housing trust fund and federal tax credits. Porter hopes to help solve the lack of housing but said more government funding is needed, and Kingsella agreed.
He also supports the City of Charlotte’s proposal to nix single-family zoning.
"It’s a critical part to a comprehensive solution,” said Kingsella.
As Charlotte grows and housing shrinks, public and private partners are looking for ways to fill the gap.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.