There are 2,567 units currently under construction in Chapel Hill, and Town officials say development roll-out is on track to hit a 35 percent yearly housing increase quota, based on a 2021 projected housing needs report.
“We are on track, in the past few years, to hit those targets, exceed those targets and expand the housing supply in Chapel Hill,” Town of Chapel Hill Planning Manager Corey Liles said.
Liles said he thinks it will be important to continue strategic thinking and planning into later years as obvious places to build housing become scarce.
The report estimates that constructing approximately 485 new units per year will accommodate growth and keep the jobs-to-housing ratio from increasing. This quota designates around 440 new units for working-age and senior populations and 45 units for students living off-campus.
Jobs-to-housing ratios in urban planning generally reflect housing availability in an area that ideally matches its workforce needs in price, size and location. Affordable housing accommodates lower incomes within this workforce, compared to the area's median income.
Ashley Hernandez, an assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC, said developers have to constantly grapple with how low they can make affordable unit rates while also avoiding debt.
“That's the greatest impediment to the development of affordable housing, is being able to pay for it and keep the rents that you're going to charge as low as you possibly can,” she said.
Of the 2,567 dwelling units under construction, 154 – or about six percent – are considered affordable units.