City leaders and developers address the challenges of building affordable housing

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- City officials say that there is a huge need for affordable housing.

“In forty-one of the forty-six counties in South Carolina there’s trouble for folks to be able to afford housing,” City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said.

On wednesday, at the quarterly meeting for the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing, developers explained why they can’t afford to build housing for low and middle income earners.

The developers say a big challenge to building affordable homes closer to the city’s center is the cost.

“In many parts of the state, you don’t have to address hurricane issues. You don’t have to address poor soils with deep foundations piles…the cost of construction here is much higher than other places,” Robert Clement, Area Developer and President of CC&T Real Estate Services, said.

Clement says the cost to build low income housing is the same as homes developers can sell at the full market rate. Thus, it cuts into profit margin.

He says that the city and the developer need to work together to fund building affordable houses.

“You have to partner with the city, with the community to be able to get the right program in place to do this and do it well,” Clement said.

He also recommends that the city look for federal grants or tax credits and find other ways to increase their budget for affordable housing.

“We have to get entrepreneurial here in having some source of permanent funding. Like having some piece of property tax percent would go a long way to getting a permanent source of income to build all levels of affordable housing,” Clement said.

Charleston’s mayor, John Tecklenburg, say that the city will continue conversations with area developers to identify solutions to the need for affordable housing.

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