Recent housing market trends have shown that while the rental market is booming, the for-sale housing sector is slowing, leaving millions of high-end homes empty. In response to these trends, many large cities are turning high-priced condominiums into properties available at relatively low rental rates, Inter Press Service reports.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) states that low-income families face more difficulty finding affordable housing than consumers in any other bracket. According to the NLIHC website, a 2010 report showed that 9.8 million low-income consumers were allotted 3 million affordable housing units – in other words, 30 houses were available for every 100 families.
In order to rectify this problem, Chicago and New York, along with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), are stepping in to convert empty houses and condos into affordable homes for rent, according to IPS.
The agency is planning to convert foreclosed single-family homes owned by the government into units available for rent. In Chicago and New York, city officials are examining empty condo units and planning to convert them into new developments.
According to NLIHC, the organization is skeptical about whether the new conversions will have anything to do with the low-income housing crunch. On the company's website, a spokesperson wrote that nowhere in the available FHFA program pilots does it say that the new units will be targeted at low-income families. However, Chicago city officials are confident that new middle-income housing will ease the burden of low-income families by removing competition.