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Not All Affordable Housing Shortages Are Alike

The city of Philadelphia shows that not all affordability crises are created with the same mix of supply and demand.
July 29, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tony Fischer

Anna Kramer writes of the specifics of Philadelphia's housing shortage—specifics that are likely common in other cities as well.

According to Kramer, "in Philadelphia, it’s not just a shortage of affordable housing that’s causing the crunch. Instead, poor-quality houses and an unusually high poverty rate — about 400,000 Philadelphians are living in poverty — tilt the equation so that demand far outstrips supply here, making affordable homes hard to obtain and difficult to manage."

Kramer calls on data from "The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018" report released in June by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies to illustrate the point.

"Among other statistics, the report states that affordable units for low-income renters both nationwide and in the 11-county Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington region have become 50 percent more scarce over the last 10 years," according to Kramer. "The data point to a regional deficit of 117,132 affordable rentals."

Stull, the city of Philadelphia is the most affordable city other than Baltimore on the Northeast Corridor. So how can Philadelphia be both affordable and have a lack of affordable housing? As Philadelphia proves, affordable is a relative term.

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Published on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 in PlanPhilly
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