Loss of Thousands of Low-Cost Rental Homes in Eight Southeastern Cities

A paper written by Dan Immergluck, Ann Carpenter, and Abram Lueders for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Declines in Low-Cost Rented Housing Units in Eight Large Southeastern Cities, explores the decline of low-cost rental housing in eight Southeastern cities: Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, and Tampa. The eight cities experienced a combined loss of 30,626 low-cost units (gross monthly rent of $750 or less) between 2010 and 2014. The cities experienced a combined increase of 31,719 rental units with gross monthly rents at or above $1,500. Low-cost rental units have been lost because of disinvestment and the upgrading of apartments to higher priced units.

Neighborhoods with lower poverty rates, a newer housing stock, and a higher percentage of residents between the ages of 25 and 34 in 2010 saw a greater loss of low-cost rental homes by 2014. Neighborhoods with higher poverty rates, older housing, and few young adults did not necessarily gain low-cost rental housing but their losses were not as severe. Neighborhoods with a higher number of low-cost rental homes in 2010 saw large declines by 2014 because they had more units to lose. All other neighborhood characteristics being equal, including the number of existing low-cost units in 2010, neighborhoods with higher poverty rates in 2010 tended to see increases in low-cost rental units by 2014.

Detailed policy recommendations were beyond the scope of the paper, but the authors made some broad suggestions. Their suggestions include reducing property taxes for property owners who commit to long-term affordable rents, using real estate recording fees and other fees to generate revenue for affordable housing construction, and passing inclusionary zoning ordinances.

Declines in Low-Cost Rented Housing Units in Eight Large Southeastern Cities is available at http://bit.ly/1rWrIQD