Mecklenburg County is in dire need of more affordable housing, county report finds

Nick de la Canal, WFAE 90.7

The cost of housing in Mecklenburg County has continued to rise in recent years as the number of affordable units has dwindled, all while more people are struggling to make rent.

That’s according to the 2021 Housing Instability and Homelessness report published Thursday from Mecklenburg County and UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute.

The report is conducted annually, and is meant to provide a comprehensive look at the state of housing and homelessness in Mecklenburg County, and help county leaders determine where to allocate funding and other resources.

This year’s 126-page report painted a dire picture of the county’s housing supply, laying out in detail how renters are being increasingly squeezed by rising rents, all while more people are moving into the county, driving up demand and prices for houses and rental units.

UNC Charlotte researcher Bridget Anderson, who helped write the report, said local officials should be particularly concerned by the dramatic decline of low-cost units renting for less than $800.

The report found those low-cost units fell from about 66,067 in 2011 to about 41,114 in 2019 — amounting to a loss of roughly 25,000 units. Altogether, the share of units in the market renting for less than $800 dropped from a 45% in 2011 to 22% in 2019.

Meanwhile, the report found the county’s median monthly rent rose from $1,070 in 2015 to about $1,191 in 2019 — an increase of about $120.

Researchers also found that fewer residents with low-to-moderate incomes own homes compared with past years. According to the report, the percent of homes owned by households earning less than $75,000 dropped from 55% in 2010 to 41% in 2019.

Read more at WFAE 90.7.

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