Greenville’s median income increased, what does this mean for affordable housing?

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:32 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Greenville welcomes new residents every day, which puts a strain on the number of affordable housing options in the county. Many organizations are working to make a difference but the need grows more dire. New data shows Greenville’s Area Median Income has increased by 4 percent. While that might sound like a good thing, this could lead to a rise in rent costs.

“It’s kind of a good and bad thing,” said Tina Belge, the Policy and Advocacy Director for the Greenville Housing Fund.

The non-profit works to create and preserve affordable housing options. One key factor in doing that, is the area median income—or AMI.

“Different folks, maybe at double or sometimes triple the income, are moving from other areas into the southeast,” said Belge.

That one factor that caused the AMI to rise. It’s now $89,000, which means half of the county residents make below that number and the other half make more in a year. AMI is used as the guide to set the price points for affordable housing units in developments.

“That really affects what those rents are going to be set for any projects that are receiving federal, state or even local funding towards affordable housing. So if they rise that means the rents for those projects rise as well,” she said.

Belge says last year the AMI rose by 10 percent and some people saw a 10 percent rise in rent. If wages are also rising, it’s not a problem but—

“Our wages are pretty stagnant and remain so,” said Belge.

Which means, the rise in AMI could make it more challenging for people who are already cost-burdened by rent. On a positive note, a higher AMI increases the value of a housing assistance voucher.

“I guess I would say it is a breath of fresh air not to see it climbing so heavily,” said Belge. “We’re seeing it slow along with the cooling of the market. That’s a positive sign.”

The Greenville Housing Fund and other organizations continue to advocate and push for more housing options. If you need housing assistance or any other type of assistance, check out the Greenville Homeless Alliance’s new Homelessness Resource Guide to find the resources that fit your needs.

To learn more about the AMI increase, visit Affordable Upstate.