A bill co-sponsored by Forsyth state Senator Paul Lowe is designed to increase the number of affordable homes in North Carolina for essential workers and other first-time homebuyers.

Senate Bill 317’s authors say it addresses a crisis in affordable housing for frontline workers including nurses, teachers, law enforcement officers and firefighters. 

The bill defines “workforce housing” as developments of at least 10 acres with at least 20 percent of the dwellings for one- or two-family homes. It puts some restrictions on what local governments can require on such things as lot widths, density and some building design elements.

Half the homes deemed workforce housing would go to people whose income does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

Yongqiang Chu, director of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, says if passed the measure would ease some regulatory burdens facing home builders.

“I think this is a good thing and hopefully it will ease a lot of restrictions and increase the supply at the low end of the housing market.”

Still, Chu says multifamily units may be a better way to boost affordable housing than one- to two-family homes. 

If approved, the law would go into effect in October.


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