It is disappointing to see that housing has not received greater attention during our current presidential race. Housing is such an important part of the economy, yet it rarely comes up as a point of discussion. Our declining homeownership rates have hit a 50-year low. Escalating rents and short supplies of affordable housing, many years of flat incomes for wage earners, high student loan debt, tighter underwriting standards, changing demographics and our recent economic meltdown have all contributed to our current national crisis—which is also very real here in Central Oregon.
Rising rents are probably the most significant issue, as they make it difficult for many young families to become first time homebuyers because their savings for a down payment are eaten up by high rents. Some are suggesting that rental housing and home ownership policies should be complementary rather than competing with each other. Support for affordable rental housing enables eventual home ownership by allowing renters to save money to become homeowners. Likewise, increasing home ownership relieves the rental market by releasing rental housing.
Two U.S. Senators (Hatch, a Republican, and Cantwell, a Democrat) have recently proposed legislation which would increase support for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by 50 percent. The (LIHTC) was created in 1986, but by 2020 nearly 1 million units financed through this program will be approaching the end of their compliance periods. Once the compliance period is over, they can charge market rents—reducing the affordable rental inventory.
It is nice to see people from both sides of the political aisle trying to help support affordable housing. Hopefully our newly elected officials will give greater attention and work together finding solutions to our affordable housing crisis—which is inter-related to other important economic issues.
158 SE Heyburn St., Bend, OR 97702
2 beds, 1 baths, 738 square feet, .13 acre lot
Built in 1945
Listed by John L Scott Bend
615 NW Portland Ave., Bend, OR 97703
3 beds, 2 baths, 888 square feet, .08 acre lot
Built in 1920
Listed by The Broker Network of Central Oregon
3668 NW Cotton Pl., Bend, OR 97703
4 beds, 3.5 baths, 4,025 square feet, .55 acre lot
Built in 2006
Listed by Coldwell Banker Reed Bros Realty