How can real estate professionals help tackle the affordable housing crisis?
The U.S. real estate market is rebounding. It’s great news for real estate investors, agents, CEOs, and existing homeowners. However, it is also making housing less affordable for many workers. Right now, real estate is the most affordable it will be for years to come. Home prices and interest rates are only going to go up. So far, average wages, earnings, and employment hasn’t caught up. This is creating a crisis for individuals and families in some parts of the country.
What can real estate agents, investors and business owners due to alleviate the burden?
Not every real estate professional has the financial position to provide affordable housing. Some may not even be working markets that have room for it. You may be working a very tight knit, high end condo building or gated community. All have influence. All have a responsibility. If all you can do is to promote the importance of affordable housing on your blog, or to share content like this, then do it. Sometimes this can be the best way to help. You never know who you will reach and inspire to action.
Housing is only going in one direction for the foreseeable future. That is, it will only get more expensive. One way to help others keep up with rising housing costs is to pay more to those that you hire. There is a lot of media attention on the minimum wage debate. There are clear challenges, and many businesses are up in arms about having to pay staff more. But, have you tried living on minimum wage? Whether it is $5, $10, $15, or even $25 an hour, it isn’t easy to make ends meat. This is especially true in major U.S. cities where it can take $50 to over $200 to afford to rent the average apartment. Businesses and real estate pros with teams need to remain financially viable. They must stay profitable in order to keep employing others. But when possible. they should try to pay a living wage. If cash is tight, some may be able to aid workers with deals on housing, or housing related perks.
Remote working is trending. It is estimated that more than half the population is already working remotely. Real estate companies and team leads can avoid getting priced out of business by facilitating more remote working or hiring freelance workers from further afield. This can help keep costs down, and profits up. It also means workers can live better by commuting less, and living where housing is more affordable. What’s good for workers and their families will come back to their employers in better performance.
Many real estate professionals do work in markets that have, or desperately need affordable housing. Even if it is not your main niche, it is worth participating in. There are plenty of options. Real estate agents can help sell affordable housing and keep it viable. They can rent it too. Real estate investors can help provide affordable housing via rentals and re-sales.
All real estate business owners, agents, and investors ought to be striving to be greener and more sustainable. The industry is coming a long way with respect to these ventures. However, some are arguing that some current trends and labels aren’t as green and sustainable as they could be. Oahu, HI Realtor R.J. Martin points out that these trends have recently found themselves at odds. This can be especially true when it comes to affordability. Look at some of the buildings with the highest LEED certifications today. They may be innovative, but they are far from affordable. R.J. argues that sustainable means affordable. And that truly being green requires minimal energy and expense. Some real estate pros might do well to keep this in mind, and to stop beating themselves up about being green. In many cases, recycling existing housing stock may be the greenest and most sustainable solution. At the same time, it can keep housing far more affordable than building new luxury ‘green’ homes.
Affordability isn’t just about monthly housing payments. Rent and mortgage payments are just a part of the overall expense. Property taxes, insurance, and utilities are all a part of the package. Real estate agents, investors, and builders can do a lot to help reduce these expenses when building and rehabbing homes. Homes can be made more energy efficient, safer, and design to incur less tax. They can even be designed to empower residents to be more self-sufficient.
The truth is that real estate professionals can only do so much to keep housing prices moderated. The rest of the universe is working to raise them. But, they can help others tap into the rising tide. By turning others onto the benefits of buying homes, investing in property, or even profiting from referrals, more will experience higher incomes. That will help to keep housing affordable.