Editorial: Affordable housing shortage needs work at local, state and federal level
Many of us have watched as rents and housing prices in the Charleston region have soared so dramatically that we might think we’re somehow unique in our struggle to ensure that workers can find affordable places to live. If so, we would be wrong.
As the new 2021 South Carolina Housing Needs Assessment documents, almost one of every four renters in the state was paying more than 50% of their income on rent in 2019. The situation likely worsened last year, given the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of home sales pending in December for less than $100,000 was down 33% from the previous year. As The Post and Courier’s David Slade reported, the average worker’s wage in 40 of our 46 counties was too low to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
The proposed Neighborhood Homes Investment Act would create a federal tax credit to cover the cost difference between building or renovating a home in these areas and the price at which it could be sold. The legislation would incentivize new construction and also help existing homeowners make repairs and remain in their homes.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is among a bipartisan group of six senators who have signed onto the legislation, which President Joe Biden also has included in his American Jobs Plan. “Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream, and for far too long too many people have had to face an uphill climb to owning their own property,” Mr. Scott said. “The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act will help first time homebuyers across the United States further their dreams of being homeowners.”