Hey, builders: Don't forget the average folks
In response to this post about a call to convert downtown Baltimore office buildings into apartments, a reader offered this plea:
"What the downtown area really needs isn't just more apartments. It needs more affordable apartments where young single people can live alone in a nice place without dropping $1700 a month for a 500 sq ft studio/1br plus parking. There's really no middle ground between the high end apartments that aren't as nice as the rents would suggest and the never-renovated dumps. But that middle ground is a huge market. I know so many people who would ditch their 2 and 3 roommate row houses if more reasonable apartments were available."
It reminds me of the frustration expressed by middle-income home buyers that they can't find anything suitable in their price range.
The question I have for builders is, can you build homes or apartments aimed at people in the middle? If not, what's standing in your way?
The median household income in the Baltimore region is about $67,000, according to the Maryland Department of Planning. In Baltimore proper, it's $40,000. If you agree with the notion that 30 percent of your pre-tax income is the maximum you should be spending on housing, that's $1,675 a month for the typical household in the region and $1,000 for the typical city household.
Are you typical? What do you think of your housing choices?