CNE President Chimes in on 100 Million Dollar Housing Initiative

CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — Mayor Tim Kelly spoke yesterday about a need for affordable housing, but that raises a question: what housing does the city consider affordable?

According to the city’s promotional materials for the plan, they’re using the widely recognized metric that “affordable housing should only cost one third of a household’s income.

“The median housing price in Chattanooga is around $290,000, give or take. And it is a growing problem. When I came to Chattanooga — gosh — it was in 2014, the median income could afford the median priced house, which was $150,000,” said Martina Guilfoil, President and CEO of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to housing inflation.

One is the purchase of seemingly undervalued properties by investors.

“There’s a lot of investor money now out in the market place, looking for what they believe is undervalued real estate. We are seeing investors coming into the market — sight unseen — buying properties,” she said.

Another cause is falling interest rates.

“Interest rates have been really low, and then you have the pandemic on top of it, which created an influx of people who looked around and said where’s an attractive place to live — I can live anywhere now,” she added.

According to Mayor Kelly, the solution to these issues won’t happen overnight, but the initiative’s first projects are expected to begin by the end of the year

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