FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2016
Media Contact: Mary Beth Romig
Director of Communications
NEW ORLEANS REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY RELEASES REPORT ON
RENTAL HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
New Report Details Conditions of New Orleans Rental Housing Market,
New Orleans, LA – Renters in New Orleans have become more cost-burdened in recent years according to a new independent assessment conducted by the Center for Community Progress and commissioned by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).
“New Orleans is facing a growing rental housing crisis,” said Jeff Hebert, NORA’s Executive Director. “With the insights from this report, we can refine and expand our strategies to increase access to quality, affordable rental housing.”
Where will people live? New Orleans Growing Rental Housing Challenge is the city’s first comprehensive post-Katrina assessment of the city’s rental housing market. It evaluates citywide and neighborhood-level conditions and trends and, based on those findings, makes a series of recommendations to improve the affordability and quality of rental housing.
Rental Housing Trends
In 2013, according to the report, the total inventory of rental housing in New Orleans exceeded the pre-Katrina levels for the first time, totaling 95,015 units compared to 93,173 in the spring of 2005. This revival of rental housing has come largely from rehabilitation of existing properties, as well as a shift in single family properties from owner-occupancy to rental, rather than from new housing construction.
Renters in New Orleans are disproportionately made up of single-persons and non-family households, are much younger than the city’s homeowners, and are disproportionately poor. While the median income of homeowners in New Orleans is $57,000, that of renters is only $24,000, and roughly 30% of all of the city’s renters receive some form of rental assistance.
While the rental vacancy rate fell below 8% in 2013 for the first time since Katrina (below the national vacancy rate), rents in New Orleans have increased since 2012 by 20-25%.
These rent increases have led to the increasing unaffordability of the city’s rental stock. Three out of five renters spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs, and two out of five renters spend more than 50%, far more than in the United States as a whole. Nearly four out of five low-income, cost-burdened renters in New Orleans are African American households.
The report recommends four possible public interventions to support rental housing availability and quality in light of the above trends and conditions. These include:
- Site acquisition and assembly: Helping to ensure the availability of buildings and sites that can be readily developed
- Subsidy: Providing capital to reduce the full cost of affordable rental housing development
- Financing: Increasing access to financing, particularly for small-scale rental housing development and preservation of existing rental stock
- Regulation: Using regulatory abilities, both existing and new, to create and improve affordable rental housing
NORA is working to implement the report’s recommendations, which align with the five-year housing plan by the City of New Orleans, Housing for a Resilient New Orleans, released earlier today. Of the interventions recommended, NORA provides a subsidy in the form of reduced land prices in exchange for affordable rents, and provides financing through its construction lending program.
“Our report was designed to provide the City of New Orleans with a road map, and we’re delighted that the City’s five-year housing plan, Housing for a Resilient New Orleans, has embraced many of our recommendations,” said Alan Mallach, senior fellow with the Center for Community Progress and author of the report. “The City’s commitment means that more renters, and especially lower-income renters, will have access to safe and healthy housing they can afford.”
The Center for Community Progress, a non-profit organization, conducted the rental housing assessment. Community Progress is the leading national resource for local, state, and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization. The organization’s mission is to ensure communities have the vision, knowledge, and systems to transform blighted, vacant, and other problem properties into assets supporting neighborhood vitality. More information about Community Progress is available at www.communityprogress.net.
To view the report, “Where will people live? New Orleans Growing Rental Housing Challenge” click here.
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, partnering in strategic developments that celebrate the city’s neighborhoods and honor its traditions.