Raleigh, NC

Affordable housing fills up fast; here is what’s on the horizon

The Triangle Tribune

Townhomes of Washington TerracePhoto byDHIC website

By Mia Khatib


Many affordable rentals fill up before they even become available and lots of them have waitlists that double capacity, local developers told The Tribune. Here are some upcoming affordable housing opportunities in the Triangle to keep an eye out for.

DHIC Inc. is bringing two senior apartment complexes to Raleigh this year: Booker Park South, which residents will begin moving into in approximately a month, and Primavera, to be completed in the summer. Both sites are for individuals 55 and older and earning 60% or below the area median income.

DHIC President and CEO Yolanda Winstead said applications are still open for Booker Park South, but 49 of the 68 units are already leased and the rest of the units will likely be filled through the waitlist. She said Primavera’s interest list is available online, and they will start sending applications for the 164-unit site to people on the list over the next few months.

“If you're not on the interest list, you can still apply. You just won't know ahead of time that the property is opening up soon,” she said. “Because there's not enough affordable housing, people that get on the waitlist early are the ones who get in. We don't have a lot of turnover, and so we end up with waitlists that are upwards of a year, maybe longer after it fills up.”

DHIC is also partnering with Stanley Martin Homes as it builds and sells 58 townhomes at Washington Terrace, 17 of which will be available for people earning 80% or below the AMI. Construction will begin later this year and an interest form for the affordable units is available on DHIC’s website. Winstead said DHIC will help market the affordable units and assist income-qualifiable homebuyers to access Raleigh’s down payment assistance program, which now offers up to $30,000 for first-time homebuyers.

Raleigh’s Housing Programs Administrator Erika Brandt said, in a typical year, Raleigh administers between 30 to 50 of these homebuyer loans, but is not anywhere close to that this year. She said the city made changes to the program — increased the assistance amount, swapped out funding sources to provide more flexibility, and raised the purchase price limit — in an effort increase uptake.

Brandt also said Raleigh introduced an enhanced program in October, which offers up to $60,000 in assistance for properties along the proposed bus rapid transit lines. She said this program aims to get ahead of the transit investment and help preserve affordability in those areas.

“So we're starting to see some movement, but it's not nearly as much as in past years,” she said. “I think we're going to have to continue to reevaluate and tweak to meet where the market is at right now.”

The City of Raleigh is also supporting CASA in the development of King’s Ridge, a 100-unit project entirely for people exiting homelessness. Cornelis Verkerk, CASA’s real estate development team project manager, said King’s Ridge is modeled after Moore Place, a permanent supportive housing complex in Charlotte.

“We're partnering with other organizations like Alliance Health to provide on-site wraparound services,” he said. “It's one of the only developments that I know of that would actually be providing on-site services like health care [and] mental health.”

Last month, CASA broke ground on Bryan Place, a 16-unit apartment complex in Durham. Verkerk said all the units will be one bedrooms for people earning 30% and below the AMI, and those experiencing homelessness will receive priority.

CASA is also wrapping up Perry Place, a 48-unit project for people between 60% and 30% of the AMI in Chapel Hill, in the next few weeks. He said applications aren’t closed yet, but around 200 have been received and close to 40 units are filled.

“CASA’s waitlist is over 1,200 people. The need is much greater than our ability to produce those units,” Verkerk said. “The Triangle has become a hotspot for developers, and it's getting very difficult to buy land or to buy existing rentals just because asking prices have gone up so much.”

To find available affordable housing units across the state, visit NCHousingSearch.org.

Mia Khatib, who covers affordable housing and gentrification, is a Report for America corps member.

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