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  • Writer's pictureFCRHA

As rent skyrockets across the U.S., Fairfax County continues to focus on creating affordable housing

The average rent in the U.S. increased by almost one-quarter (23.9 percent) during the past three years. That is according to new data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies latest State of the Nation’s Housing report.

‘Cost-burdened renters,’ defined as those spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, are particularly impacted. Between 2019 and 2021, this cohort increased by 1.2 million to a record 21.6 million households nationally. Further, about half (11.6 million) of these households are severely cost-burdened, spending upwards of half of their income on housing.

This rent increase is coupled with household budget squeezes on affording other basic needs. According to data from a 2022 Urban Institute study, 63.2 percent of adults reported their household grocery costs ‘increased a lot’ in the last year, along with those that reported cost increases for gasoline (55.5 percent), home heating (26.4 percent), child care (14.3 percent), health insurance (12.5 percent), and mortgage payments (8.1 percent).

In order to provide opportunities for Fairfax County residents to live in safe, affordable housing, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority maintains a goal of producing 10,000 new homes affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) by the year 2034. The Residences at North Hill, Ovation at Arrowbrook, and Residences at Government Center are examples of initiatives contributing to that goal. The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority also maintains a goal of no net loss of existing affordable housing.

Renters Getting Priced Out of Homeownership

The State of the Nation’s Housing Report also analyzed homeownership data, finding millions of renters have been priced out of homeownership opportunities. Citing data from the Urban Institute, the report indicates a 22 percent decline in the number of mortgages originated to first-time homebuyers in 2022, including a year-over-year drop in the fourth quarter of nearly 40 percent.

Fairfax County continues to provide incentives for new home developers to create affordable units exclusively for those who are otherwise priced-out of the market. Fairfax County’s First-Time Homebuyer Program offers affordably priced new and resale homes to those who qualify. Homes are priced from the low $100,000s to $300,000.

How to Get Housing Support

  • Emergency Housing and Homelessness Support: Contact Coordinated Services Planning, 703-222-0880

  • Rental Assistance: Fairfax County offers many rental assistance programs, including help paying rent and obtaining affordable homes in your neighborhood of choice. More details on rental assistance.

  • Homebuyer Programs: Fairfax County Homebuyer Programs provide a great way for low- to moderate-income households to purchase homes in market-rate communities at below-market prices. More details on homebuyer programs.

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