Charlottesville Helps Residents With Housing Woes

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

September 13, 2005

Charlottesville's housing market is through the roof. Officials said businesses are feeling the brunt of it. But the City thinks they can do something about it.

Everywhere you look more and more 'For Sale' signs are popping up around Charlottesville. But what's shocking is how much these home and condos are going for.

Stuart Armstrong of the Piedmont Housing Alliance said it's all about supply and demand. "The supply is not quite keeping up with the demand side. That's typically what drives the prices up on anything," said Stuart Armstrong.

Research shows in 2004 the median household income is only a little over $33,000. Out of 1000 houses for sale in our region only 90 of them are selling for below $175,000. Only 10 percent are considered affordable.

"That percentage really puts a lot of strain on the viability of the community's economic vitality," said Tim Hulbert, the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Chamber of Commerce businesses are the most affected by the housing market.

"The survey of the business owners have shown [that] the number one priority or issue for the business community for the last two years in a row is the price of housing and what it's doing to their recruiting and retention efforts," said Armstrong.

The Chamber said if they can't make houses affordable, at least they can make it more bearable by offering some assistance. "We talked about offering home ownership skills, partnerships, workshops, assisted financing...and additional public housing," said Hulbert.

Their goal is to find affordable housing where people can live and work. Tomorrow the Chamber of Commerce will meet with local businesses to discuss how they're going to meet that challenge.

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