Publications

- December 1, 2018: Vol. 30, Number 11

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Making an impact: Investors in affordable and workforce housing do well by doing good

by Loretta Clodfelter

Investors’ reasons for investing in affordable housing are as varied as the opportunities available. But, broadly, it comes down to two factors: The returns are good, and it’s the right thing to do.

It has become a truism to say housing affordability is in a crisis, but it has been building slowly, drip-drip-drip style. The problem, growing over decades, has accelerated since the global financial crisis. In coastal markets, in particular, an acute lack of housing has exacerbated the issue of affordability. And efforts to increase supply are just a drop in the bucket.

Homeownership rates are lower now than they were a decade ago, the lingering legacy of the housing collapse and the Great Recession. That means more renters. And rising mortgage interest rates are not helping people transition from renting to home buying.

That larger pool of renters, especially in coastal markets, spends a large share of income on housing because wages have not kept pace with re

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