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As Nashville Booms, So Does Its Affordable Housing Shortfall

The Housing Fund President and CEO Marshall Crawford emphasized the challenge of affordable housing in Nashville recently to about 100 investors, government officials and community members at a breakfast meeting at the Wildhorse Saloon.

The Housing Fund President and CEO Marshall Crawford
The Housing Fund President and CEO Marshall Crawford

“The city’s population growth and rising housing costs have priced many residents out of the neighborhoods they have lived in their entire lives,” Crawford said. 

With a booming economy and income growth concentrated in upper-income brackets, Nashville is facing a growing shortfall of affordable housing, both for rent and for sale.

"Many people aren’t able to afford the houses they’d like to buy or rent, because they are no longer reasonably attainable," Crawford said. 

"With median incomes continuing to rise, what you could afford last year may not necessarily be the same this year, and the same-sized houses that are considered affordable a few counties over are no longer in the budget range for a large portion of the population."

Apartment For Rent

“We’ve developed a new five-year strategic plan, and we’re ready to advocate for all communities, especially those who feel forgotten or ignored,” Crawford said.

He cited some recent stats to illustrate the problem. Nashville Next reported this year that the number of households burdened by high housing costs (spending 30% or more of gross income on rent or mortgage) has increased over the past 10 years, affecting at least 86,000 households. 

Declining affordability has affected both renters and owners. Worse, 16% of households were severely cost-burdened (spending more than 50% on rent or mortgage) in the period from 2007 to 2011, Nashville Next reports. 

Since 1996, THF has provided more than 3,300 first-time homebuyers over $19M in down-payment assistance loans, and has ponied up more than $40M in financing to assist individuals and organizations in purchasing, rehabilitating or constructing homes for low- and moderate-income families in metro Nashville. THF has also lent over $66M, which has leveraged over $400M in private financing, for the acquisition of more than 4,300 affordable housing units.