At a briefing Thursday morning on 2016 regional growth and development called Spaces & Places, a room of developers, planners and public officials heard about the state of development in Orange, Durham and Chatham counties from a panel of peers and like-minded professionals.
“We lost the ability to house our lower income residents a long, long time ago,” said Mark Zimmerman, owner of real estate agency RE/MAX Winning Edge in Chapel Hill. “We’ll begin to lose the ability to house middle income people soon, too.”
While Zimmerman said the cost of living in Orange County is partially to blame for residents being priced out, he said it had more to do with a lack of homes on the market.
“We have a real shortage of inventory,” he said.
According to Zimmerman, the average single home sale price in Orange County is $401,000 — 6 percent higher than Durham County. Zimmerman also said Orange County has built 177 new homes since July 2015 compared to 600 in Durham County.
While new commercial developments in Orange County have happened quickly, Dwight Bassett, Chapel Hill’s economic development officer, said the change is good.
“The future can be better than the Chapel Hill that’s in our mind,” Bassett said.