Raleigh housing debate rekindled amid new report

Sean Coffey Image
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Raleigh housing-shortage debate rekindled amid new report
The report, recently released by Zillow, shows that Raleigh faces a housing deficit of roughly 17,000 units.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A recent report has rekindled the debate about the future of housing development and affordability in the capital city. That report, recently released by Zillow, shows that Raleigh faces a housing deficit of roughly 17,000 units. While those active in Raleigh's housing debate agree action must be taken to keep pace with growth, the types of developments -- and where they should go -- remain a point of contention.

"The only other option is more housing. It's more units," said Nathan Spencer of Wake Up Wake County, which advocates sustainable growth in the area. Spencer said whether or not people like it, denser and multi-unit housing options throughout the Raleigh metro need to become a reality.

"It is on everyone, which means that there is more chance for more housing everywhere vs. what's been happening over the last 20 years where people developers have focused on the lowest income communities and really torn down homes and gentrified those communities," he said.

Raleigh City Council has already re-zoned traditionally single-family home neighborhoods to accommodate what's known as "missing middle" housing -- which consists of multi-unit developments, duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes. Tim Niles of Livable Raleigh said that though he's not opposed to a targeted approach to "missing middle," that's not what's being done in Raleigh.

"They implemented a policy which is all carrot and no stick to the benefit of developers so that what developers do their incentivized to go where they can make the most profit as to instead of where they can provide the best benefit for the community," Niles said.

He added that though the premise of denser housing is supposed to increase affordable options, the city's plan hasn't done that, either.

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"the inconsistency is between being sold a missing middle policy, saying that it will help with affordability when it doesn't," he said.

Zillow's report also examined the housing deficit's effect on rising costs of living in the Raleigh metro and assessed they would continue to rise amid the area's population surge if construction doesn't keep pace with demand.