In a free market, affordability is transactional. It makes sense only if there are two sides to the transaction. A seller’s price (fixed) is only affordable if a purchaser’s financial worth (fixed) is high enough to cover the cost.
In spite of this, advocacy around affordable housing focuses overwhelmingly on just one side of the transaction: the price of a home.
Overwhelmingly, but not exclusively.
Some advocates suggest that the solution to housing crises cannot come solely from lowering housing prices. Those advocates feel it’s essential to put more money in the hands of purchasers, allowing them to meet a higher cost of housing with higher wages.
In a ‘small-government’ oriented political climate with a hands-off attitude to all and a very free market, this can be a tall order.
Read about the trials and tribulations of one city attempting to reduce housing prices, and increasing the community’s wages, at WFAE 90.7: ‘One Job Should Be Enough’: How Charlotte’s Low-Wage Jobs Make Housing Unaffordable
Who’s behind this article?
The article in this post was produced with the support of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, an interesting development in efforts to improve the quality of journalism available to the public. With the resources of the Collaborative, reporters have more time to prepare articles and are able to refer to academic research and reach out to a wide array of stakeholders for comment.
Is there information about this issue outside North Carolina?
Some of the United Ways in the United States have teamed up to create the United for ALICE project. It also tackles the wage side of the equation. They provide detailed reports on the difference between wages and the cost of living in 17 states. There are also summaries for all 50 states.