Logan C. Ritchie, Contributor
DeKalb County, Georgia — DeKalb Commissioner Ted Terry hosted a two-part housing symposium last week with local industry experts.
Panelists in the August 2017 discussion touched on homeownership rates for people of color, changes in household income and inflation, utility rate increases and housing efficiency, zoning, institutional investors, and more.
Atlanta Civic Circle, Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership and Microlife Institute participated in the virtual meeting on August 17th.
Mike Alexander, CEO of the Atlanta Regional Commission, provided data on the Atlanta housing market, the economics of housing, and what that means for local government.
Since the pandemic began, average home prices have risen 44%, Alexander said.
“What I’ve seen with housing data is completely different from my experience working with it for over 20 years,” said Alexander.
Institutional investors are one of the drivers of inflation. Approximately 11% of DeKalb’s housing stock (18,786 units out of 169,514 available) is owned by institutional investors.
It is here Breakdown of institutional investors by Axios. The Big 6 institutional investors are Invitation Homes, First Key Homes, American Homes 4 Rent, Progress Residential, MainStreet Renewal and Tricon Residential.
“I don’t think there is anything that can be done at the local level.” [about institutional investors]said Terry. “I think the state and/or federal government probably have something to say about it.”
The influence of institutional investors extends beyond the boundaries of race and generational wealth.
In general, black households have 10% of the wealth of white households in the United States, according to Alexander. In the Atlanta metropolitan area, the difference in homeownership rates between black and white households is approximately 25%.
Homeownership is the primary way low-income households build wealth, and ARC data shows that the number of low-income households owning a home is declining.
“There is a dramatic difference in wealth in our region,” said Alexander.
Join the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP). This is an organization dedicated to developing, financing and advocating for affordable housing. They have been in action for 31 years, focusing on foreclosure recovery and protecting 300 homes across DeKalb County.
ANDP has two ongoing projects in DeKalb County. Home South DeKalba three-year effort to build or preserve 100 homes in South DeKalb County, and oak cottage court, Small home establishment and partnership with the City of Decatur prioritizing home ownership for city employees.
“Everyone needs to have stable housing, which translates into better educational outcomes, health outcomes and financial mobility. It was very intentional, also focusing on the racial gaps Alexander mentioned.
Building a house with intention is the goal of the Microlife Institute, run by Will Johnston. By building homes under 1,000 square feet, our products are sustainable and energy efficient.
“We need people working on these kinds of projects. We need to normalize other options, not just single families,” said Johnston, executive director of MicroLife. increase.
Today, in DeKalb County, one in three residents live in a single-person household. Still, the available housing is mostly single-family homes with two or three bedrooms.
According to Johnston, what diversifies the community is the variety of housing options.
“We are trying to reconstruct walkability, connectivity and its social fabric, which we see as a more sociological dimension to help us revert to being human.” Johnston said.
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