Report finds homeownership nearly out of reach for average Franklin worker


By SARAH KINGSBURY

Unless you make over $40,000 per year, you probably canet afford to rent an apartment in Franklin.

Unless you make over $40,000 per year, you probably canet afford to rent an apartment in Franklin.

The cityes biggest unmet housing needs are for young buyers looking for their first home or workers who canet afford the price of rent to move to Franklin, according to a draft housing analysis report completed in March.

The city paid Denver, Colo.-based consultants BBC Research and Consulting nearly $60,000 to find that affordable housing in Franklin is lacking. The report will be presented to three different groups Tuesday as the firm seeks feedback before finalizing the study.

With median rent, including utilities, at $1,044 per month, compared to $730 statewide, a renter would have to make $41,760 annually to afford that without being ecost-burdenede a term used to describe those who spend at least 30 percent of their income on housing. The study said 44 percent of Franklin renters fall into that category.

Others are spending even more than that. Eighteen percent of renters put more than half their income toward housing, according to the report.

The affordability of buying a home isnet much better. While the median income in Franklin is $83,365, the average wage based on what different industries pay is $54,306 per year, the study said. A worker could only afford 11 percent of the homes sold last year or the year before in Franklin at that pay, and of that 11 percent, half were attached residences like condos or townhomes.

That means the city needs more starter homes that can sell for $250,000 or less, the report said. Only 273 were sold in that price range last year; another 242 were attached units.

The highest population of cost-burdened households is directly northeast of downtown more than 40 percent spend about one-third of their income on housing.

Of the nearly 51,000 people who work in Franklin, about 85 percent live elsewhere, the study found. Of the five largest industries, none have average wages high enough for a worker to afford a single-family detached house. Only two paid enough to cover median rent.

Another 16,000 workers are projected for Franklin by 2025 and about half will work in industries in which they wonet be able to afford to work in the city, the report said.e

More senior living is also needed, with a population that could increase by as much as 5.6 percent annually. That would equate to a quadrupling of residents 65 or older from 7,200 to 28,000 in 2035.

Growth, gaps

The study also found Franklines housing stock has seen double-digit growth in all areas in the past decade: up 60 percent in single-family detached homes, from 6,000 in 2000 to 16,200 in 2010; up 40 percent in townhomes and duplexes, from 850 in 2000 to 2,900 in 2010; and up 60 percent in multifamily developments, such as apartments, from 2,700 in 2000 to 7,200 in 2010.

The type of housing has remained the same, as has the homeownership rate, which stands at about 65 percent, the report said.

Some of the residents surveyed for the report expressed concern that an increase in affordable housing would diminish the cityes charm and culture, but the consultants said data from other cities shows cheaper units wonet negatively affect property values if they are well managed within a large development, such as an apartment complex, or mixed in with higher-value homes.

Currently, 7,400 residences have been approved but not constructed in Franklin, including 3,040 single family homes, 2,354 condos or townhomes, 1,612 apartments, and 392 other types of living space, such as assisted living centers, according to the study. However, there is a gap of 1,300 units that would have to be priced at $750 or less to be affordable to low-income renters who earn less than $25,000 per year, such asestudents, the disabled, and the unemployed.

The consultants recommended city leaders take initiatives such as making mandatory an ordinance to require the inclusion of affordable housing in new construction projects, or raising fees for developers who opt out so that there is less incentive to pay the fee rather than take part in the program.

The report will be presented Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. at Breakfast with the Mayors at Rolling Hills Community Church in Franklin, organized by Franklin Tomorrow. Another presentation will be made to city leaders at City Hall at 5 p.m. the same day. Both are free and open to the public.e

Sarah Kingsbury covers Franklin for BrentWord Communications. Contact her at sarah@franklinhomepage.com.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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