It’s been almost a year since I explained why I don’t like being called a “flipper.” I prefer “redeveloper,” not because it has more syllables, but because it better describes what we do. Then over the last few weeks, both Suna and I have written about the changing economic pressures affecting the redevelopment business model. These pressures and reviewing our core values have caused us to reevaluate our business model.
When we started this business, one of our goals was to provide quality affordable housing. We wanted to serve a market that was historically under-served in our area. We realized working people, and especially first-time home buyers are being priced out of the market. I mean, who can afford a “$250,000 starter home” working a $15/hour job?—which I remind you is still almost twice minimum wage.
Assuming a 40-hour work week. Someone making $15/hour grosses $2,550 a month. As I pointed out in February, our $15/hour worker would have to put down three years’ salary to be qualify for a mortgage on that “starter home.” Meanwhile, rents are continuing to rise, making it even harder to save for that down payment.
What’s to be done?
We’re still working on that. Here are a couple of our action items:
- We support the City of Austin’s revised casita ordinance and look to apply that model in the other areas we serve.
- We evaluate the impact of each of our redevelopment plans on affordability, balancing that against job creation.
We know we’re not a big enough fish to change the flow of the economic river, even if we could be sure changing the flow would be a good thing. But we do approach this business with a heart.
If you would like to do business with us, please phone 512-807-8777.