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Extreme Market Conditions Impacting Affordable Housing

Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  

Join us virtually or in person at St. Luke's Episcopal Church | 435 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta GA 30308

The American Dream, by any definition, includes the belief that one can work hard and achieve financial success. This aspiration is most often connected with the dream of homeownership. For the majority of low- and moderate-income households, homeownership is the most common way to grow financial independence and wealth. Today, a plethora of issues are disrupting the American Dream.

Interest in and production of affordable housing in metro Atlanta are at all-time highs. Yet the extreme market conditions are dwarfing this progress and limiting production. These conditions are driving housing prices higher, which impedes the ability of low- and moderate-income buyers to purchase homes, thereby increasing already wide racial wealth gaps. 

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At the next Atlanta Regional Housing Forum on June 1, Economist Jon Willis of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta will share details of both macroeconomic and regional issues that are impacting efforts to produce affordable for-sale housing at scale to meet current needs and market demands. Mr. Willis will share how inflation, Federal Reserve actions, supply chain issues, labor, land costs, and other factors are disrupting the housing sector.

 

Our conversations will then turn to an issue of growing concern - the impact of equity investor activity in the single-family rental market, including the emerging trend of “built for rent” – where entire communities are bought and built specifically for rental, not homeownership. Since the foreclosure crisis starting in 2008, Wall Street capital has rapidly begun growing a portfolio of single-family rental homes. 

 

On its face, it appears as another market strategy for investors. Players in that sector cite that they only account for two percent of all rental homes in the nation. But the reality is that they are heavily concentrated in Sun Belt cities. According to a recent report, Atlanta is by far the biggest target of equity investor activity in the single-family rental market. And by all accounts, the issue seems to be growing. 

First, we'll hear from Brian An, Associate Professor at Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy. Dr. An has been studying the early impact of equity investor activity in metro Atlanta on homeownership and Black homeownership, in particular. We'll hear the results of his recent research.

Desiree Fields, Assistant Professor of Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, will share her new co-authored report, Corporate landlords and market power: What does the single-family rental boom mean for our housing future?

 

We'll ask these experts to explain the scale of the issue, the impact on the homebuying market, the impact on communities and tenants, why Atlanta and other Sun Belt cities are such a target, and potential mitigation that ensures fair access to the American Dream.

 

To understand how this market activity is impacting our local communities, Mayor Bianca Motely Broom of College Park and Chairwoman Lisa Cupid of Cobb County will join us for a panel conversation. 
 
Lastly, we also plan to shine a light on proposed legislative action that seeks to limit local jurisdictions from enacting regulations to prevent or limit this type of single-family rental/built-for-rent activity by equity investor groups and discuss the role that tenant’s rights and other legislative remedies might play. 

For this conversation, we've asked Brad Mock of the Georgia Association of Realtors to share why his organization is lobbying for this legislation. Georgia Municipal Associations' Charlotte Davis will share why her organization opposes the legislation. 

 

Note: Our event location, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, is a mask-friendly venue, but masks are not required. Seating for the event will not be socially distanced. 

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