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'There's no question about that': Louisville realtor reacts to Metropolitan Housing Coalition report

Beyond policy changes, the Metro Housing Coalition said with the current economy, it'll also take increased wages to really make an impact in affordable housing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new report from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition shows home ownership has become increasingly less affordable in the past decade.

Tony Curtis, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, said the report’s data highlights the need for policy change. It centers on affordable rental housing, home ownership, eviction rates and more.

"We decided that it was the year to do a roadmap for a fair and affordable housing policy,” Curtis said. "It's a big issue. It's a community-wide issue. I always like to ask people, where do you start your day and where do you end your day? And hopefully it's with a roof over your head."

Curtis said the federal pandemic funding helped a lot and he's hopeful data won't start to reflect pre-pandemic rates.

For example, according to the report, the eviction filing rate for Jefferson County was 6.6% for January-September 2021; that’s higher than the 4.3% eviction filing rate in the first three quarters of 2020. However, it’s lower than the nearly 11% filing rate for the first three quarters of 2019.

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The report also shows the 2021 annual foreclosure rate dropped nearly 70% from 2019, but 2022 data shows rates may be increasing. According to the report, in January 2022, one in nearly 6,000 homes had a foreclosure filing, compared to one in more than 14,000 last year.

"Are we moving in the right direction? Are we not moving in the right direction,” Curtis asked. “And what are some key policy recommendations that we can make on policies that really affect people?"

Beyond policy changes, Curtis said with the current economy, it'll also take increased wages to really make an impact in affordable housing. One local realtor agreed.

"Inventory issues can only solve so many problems if people are seeing their paychecks being stretched more and more that they might not be able to get into a home,” Alan Reitze, a realtor with Louisville-based company Homepage, said.

Reitze said the good news is that inventory is going up. He said just this week, the Greater Louisville Area saw an average of 1,500 homes. However, it’s still a challenge because of high pricing, which is affecting many first-time homeowners. Reitze said Louisville is seeing about a 17.5% increase in home prices compared to 2021.

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“I think that there needs to be more affordable housing, there's no question about that,” he said.

Despite these obstacles, Reitze said it is still an economically sound decision to purchase a home in the long run.

"I mean the data shows that homeownership is wealth creation,” he said.

It's wealth that Curtis said can be equitable to more Louisvillians with policy change.

Curtis said the next two phases, which will aim to create housing choice and housing opportunities, will kick off by the end of the year. He says if you want to get involved, contact your council member.

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