Analysis: Grand Rapids among most affordable metros

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Grand Rapids was named one of the 28 most affordable regions in the country by the Urban Land Institute.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently released its 2021 Home Attainability Index, which analyzes more than 110 U.S. metro areas across 30 metrics of housing affordability and equity.

The index found the 4.67% of households making $35,000-$50,000 per year were “severely cost-burdened” in Grand Rapids/Wyoming metropolitan area. Additionally, less than 1% of households in the $50,000-$75,000 per year ranger were severely cost burdened.

The most affordable region in the country, according to the ULI index, was Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with 1.63% of $35,000-$50,000-per-year households declared severely cost burdened and 1.09% in the $50,000-$70,000 category.

The least affordable region in the country was San-Diego/Carlsbad, California, where 29.49% of $35,000-$50,000-per-year households were severely cost burdened, and 12.28% of households were severely cost burdened in the $50,000-$75,000 range.

The index included six metrics that directly measured housing affordability and attainability, including the levels of severe cost burden among middle-income households and the proportion of both owner-occupied and rental housing units affordable at given levels of AMI.

The ULI report also identified the most and least segregated regions by race and income and the best performing regions overall.

The report found the Grand Rapids/Wyoming area had a 45.14% gap in homeownership between white and Black residents. Overall, Grand Rapids ranked No. 6 among the 15 regions with the largest disparity between white and Black homeowners with Scranton, Pennsylvania, coming in first (54%).

The focus of the index is the effectiveness of the broader housing market in providing robust and affordable housing options. Though subsidized, income-restricted affordable housing plays a critical role in expanding housing choice, such homes generally constitute a relatively small portion of the region’s overall housing stock. As such, the index largely reflects the affordability of market-rate homes.

The Urban Land Institute is a global organization comprising more than 45,000 real estate and urban development professionals dedicated to advancing the institute’s mission of shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.

Members include developers, property owners, investors, architects, urban planners, public officials, real estate brokers, appraisers, attorneys, engineers, financiers and academics.

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