Why There Isn’t More Affordable Housing In The D.C. Area

While DC is the region’s biggest spender on subsidized housing, thanks in part to the $100 million Housing Production Trust Fund, more needs to be done to make it affordable for current and prospective residents. Check out this WAMU article on the issue. Our Acting Director, Ramon Jacobson is quoted:

“It’s not easy to build these things,” says Ramon Jacobson, director of the D.C. office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, a nonprofit lender. “It’s an orchestra.”

According to Ramon Jacobson of LISC, for-profit developers can — and do — make money on subsidized housing.

In fact, now might be a great time for developers to start building more affordable homes, Jacobson says. After all, the luxury market can be risky. If wages stop rising, the economy takes a hit, another upscale development steals your tenants, or people simply get sick of paying high rents, luxury buildings lose renters.

Meanwhile, lower-cost homes are in perpetual high demand. For that reason alone, they’re fairly safe investments.

“If you have a two-bedroom apartment priced at $900 or $1,100, you know there are an ample number of potential residents who are eager to move into it,” Jacobson says. “You’re never without another tenant who really wants and needs that apartment.”

Why There Isn’t More Affordable Housing In The D.C. Area