Editor: April is Fair Housing Month and marks the 51stanniversary of the historic Fair Housing Act. April is also an historic month as the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors engage in a vigorous discussion about housing and review the Loudoun 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
As a Realtor who has lived and worked in this wonderful county for the past 40 years, I see first-hand the struggles many face in the house-hunting process. Every day our association members work hand-in-hand with people through their emotional ups and downs of finding a room to rent or a home to buy.
Several people have asked why it is important that the County be concerned with housing and why a plan to increase housing development should be included in Loudoun 2040. The Dulles Area Association of Realtors has response.
Housing is a key ingredient of our economic prosperity and our quality of life. It is important to provide housing opportunities at all price points in order to have a vibrant, sustainable community. While the countyhas experienced economic growth, the supply of housing has not kept up with demand.
With low inventory levels, housing affordability challenges surface. In February, the average home price rose to $517,858, a 7.32 percent increase when compared to February 2018. The median price of renting a two-bedroom apartment is over $1,500. The month of February continued the trend of increasing home prices in Loudoun County.
The median household income in Loudoun County is $110,300. A family at this income level could afford to purchase a home priced up to three times their income level—$330,900—which is almost $187,000 less than the average price of a home last month. In order for someone to afford the average price of a home, they need to make more than $172,000. This month, we only have 21 properties in all of Loudoun County priced at $330,000.
A $330,000 home requires a down payment of over $9,000, over $10,000 in closing costs, and monthly payments of over $2,000. DAAR believes that these amounts and the lack of availability make homebuying difficult.Loudoun 2040 could help relieve the pressure of increasing housing costs by allowing for increased residential development, varied in type and price, available for both rental and homeownership.
The county has over 45,000 housing units that could be built under the current Plan. This number includes 12,000 housing units that could be built, by-right, in the Rural Policy Area. Loudoun 2040 helps relieve the pressureto build more homesin the RPA with targeted development in the Transition Policy Area.
The good news is that people love Loudoun County. Like me, they want to work and live here. It is important that Loudoun County provide housing options that can accommodate a variety of households, ages, income levels, and needs.
We hope, in honor of Fair Housing Month, Loudoun County will agree and help ensure we continue to provide vibrant communities.
Phyllis Stakem, President
Dulles Area Association of Realtors