Affordable housing is one of the most important issues facing the city—other than hiring a new police chief, since Jose Lopez is announcing his retirement today. But what qualifies as "affordable"?
Last year at the INDY I started a file on the new downtown/Ninth Street apartments, which listed prices, square footage, etc. I've updated it in this Excel file. Download Durham condos:apartments
Then I looked at salaries of various occupations to see who could afford to live in these new units.
Now, I based these figures on an Annual Median Income of $50,000 for Durham. That was the number being quoted at the time. It does not include Chapel Hill, which is why we're now hearing the $67,000 amount being batted about.
Housing advocates, lenders, the federal government and sensible people say to be fiscally healthy, you should not spend more than 30 percent of your gross annual income on housing and utilities. Many people do, of course, because they have no choice.
When you factor in child care, medical expenses, transportation (the No. 2 highest household expense), food, unexpected emergencies, clothing and other necessities of every day living (notice we are not including vacations), then that $1,700 a month apartment is a non-starter.