ARPA Funds Ideal for Bolstering Homeownership

By Jamie McMillen posted 02-02-2022 09:05:27 AM

Recently, ACAR submitted a letter to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan encouraging the City to utilize some the funds received thanks to the American Rescue Plan to bolster homeownership.  An excerpt of the letter is below. 

"In 2020, the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) commissioned a study to analyze housing affordability in the city of Akron.      

The study, conducted by the Anderson Economic Group, LLC (Chicago), provided an overview of housing affordability trends; quantified housing affordability for renter and owner-occupied homes; and looked at how affordability has changed in Akron.

Specifically, the analysis determined the following key points:

  1. While housing affordability has improved in the U.S., renters with low-income continue to see high housing cost burdens.
  2. Akron households experience higher housing cost burden rates than the national average.
  3. Citywide, affordability in Akron has improved for owner-occupied households, but it varies at the neighborhood level.
  4. Affordability has also improved for renters, but again, drilling down to neighborhoods, we see less affordability.

              While Akron is often referenced as one of the most affordable cities to live in, the study demonstrated the need for a closer look at the challenges experienced by renters and low-income households.  In fact, the study suggests that down payments and closing costs may be a contributing factor to why less than 12% of households earning $30,000 or less are homeowners, despite accounting for 40% of the city’s population.            

ACAR encourages the City to consider utilizing funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to create programs designed to address housing affordability challenges. Such programs may include down payment assistance, and low-interest loans or grants for home repairs, etc., for potential homebuyers. We acknowledge that Akron does offer down payment assistance through its Neighborhood Stabilization Program. However, we encourage the City to re-evaluate the program and consider increasing the amount awarded to homebuyers and expanding the scope of eligible properties beyond the Great Homes program.  If changes are not possible to the existing program, we encourage the development of a more inclusive program to bolster homeownership in the City..."

**The public is invited to submit ideas to the City of Akron, as well. Follow this link to learn more.