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2010 has been a big year for Bradley Development. We’ve built several beautiful multifamily communities in the Carolinas, bringing affordable housing to hundreds of families. These developments are not only good for the communities, they’re great investments.

It’s no secret that multifamily housing developments are gaining popularity. The recent housing market crash has played a big role in changing our perspective on what kinds of homes people need (and can afford). The role these kind of communities play is changing with the home building & buying trends. Let’s explore some facts/myths about low income housing.

Fact #1: “Low Income” = “Most of Us”

Consider this: “rent/mortgage affordability” is defined as costing no more than 30% of your income. That, to me, sounds like a pretty reasonable figure. Yet, according to the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), more than 12million renter and homeowner households now pay more then 50% of their annual incomes for housing. That’s half of your “take-home” pay gone just for a roof & four walls!

The median household income for SC residents in 2008 was $44,625 [source: U.S. Census Bureau]. Halve that number, and try to see a family of four surviving on it. Pretty tough, right? And that’s a median figure of all households. Over half of SC households make less than $45k today.

Fact #2: More Demand for Multifamily Communities = More Opportunity To Invest (and see serious ROI)

Well this certainly looks like a statement of the obvious, doesn’t it? Yet there are still many investors & those involved in Real Estate speculation focusing on buying/selling foreclosures. While we agree that there are many viable investment strategies when it comes to Real Estate, the facts are these: over half of Americans say they are wary of buying a foreclosed property. Sales of those properties are down, and there are a number of reasons for it.

This attitude is reflected in the continuing rise of demand for affordable housing. A young family has a better chance of managing their finances properly if their living expenses are in line with their income(s). College-educated young professionals are taking lower-paying jobs in markets that, years ago, were flush with large salaries. Many of our communities are in-or-near urban areas populated by new graduates starting their careers. These affordable housing communities make great first homes for them, something we didn’t see as much of just a few years ago. This trend makes investing in & building multifamily housing a smart move.

Fact #3: Affordable Housing Fights Urban Decay

Cities rise & fall. It’s a story as old as human history. Trends in trade & commerce can make a city wealthy in a relatively short period of time. But trends change, and perhaps they do so faster today then ever before. The massive amount of Real Estate development that occurred on he Grand Strand over the past 15 yrs is just one example. Now, the city is littered with exclusive neighborhoods that remain largely empty. Meanwhile, the (more affordable) housing available downtown continues to decay. While downtown areas like the one in Myrtle Beach may not have been attractive investments for the high-end property developers, Bradley Developers sees things differently.

Our Bay Pointe multifamily housing development is just one example of how these communities can improve the community. Demand was so high for these units, that a second phase is already under development. Downtown Myrtle Beach has long been in a state of disrepair. This community is giving working-class families a chance to live in new, clean & affordable housing that’s safe for their children. That’s an investment that works for everyone.

We continue to watch the housing market trends. It certainly remains volatile, but change & volatility always means opportunity. Bradley Developers knows that the opportunity is not just for investors, but for our community as a whole. Investing in the people by providing affordable housing is just one way to realize this opportunity. We’re looking forward to 2011 as being a year of recovery for many American families, and a year of growth for our industry.