St. Charles’ affordable housing grows thanks to rising incomes

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The amount of affordable housing in St. Charles continues to grow, according to data from the city and state.

City staff does an annual housing affordability analysis of the city’s housing stock. Staff has been doing the analysis since 2009 to track St. Charles’ housing affordability status, city planner Ellen Johnson said.

“This year’s findings is that 17% of St. Charles housing stock is considered affordable,” Johnson told alderpersons at the St. Charles City Council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting on Monday. “This includes rental and owner occupied units.”

Affordable housing is defined as housing that has a sales price or rental amount that is within the means of a household with an income at or below 80% area median income for owner-occupied units and at or below 60% area median income for rental units. To be considered affordable, housing costs cannot exceed 30% of a household’s annual income.

The affordable purchase for a family of four earning 80% of AMI is $231,528, up 10.5% from $207,083 in 2021

On the ownership side, 17.3% of owner occupied units are considerable affordable, up from 10.8% last year, Johnson said. She attributed the increase in affordability to an increase in area median income, which has resulted in a higher affordable home price.

Another factor contributing to the increase is that the St. Charles Township Assessor’s market value data used in the affordability calculation is based on the previous three years of sales data (2019-2021), lagging behind current housing market conditions.

On the rental side, 16.1% of rental units are considered affordable, up from 12.4% last year.

“Again, this increase is due to a higher area median income, despite a trend of rising rents across the apartment communities in St. Charles,” Johnson said.

The state’s Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act requires communities to have a housing stock comprised of at least 10% affordable units, Johnson said. A community is exempt from the act if it has more than 10% affordable units and nonexempt if they are below 10%.

City staff, however, expects that affordability – especially when it comes to home ownership – will decrease in coming years once the current housing market trends are fully accounted for in the data.

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December 17, 2022 at 02:40PM

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