Who We Are
The Land Experts, a consultant and co-developer of premier affordable rental housing, was founded in 2014. Since it’s inception, TLE has participated in 9 affordable housing communities in Texas totaling 1,440 apartment units, with another 510 units planned. These first-class rental communities are located in Fort Worth, Denton, Garland, Glenn Heights, Anna, Van Alstyne, Crowley, Farmersville, and coming soon to Dallas, Venus, Port Aransas and Midland. The sole principal, Kim Parker Schwimmer, is a Texas Certified HUB, a member of TAAHP, (Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Professionals) and a licensed commercial real estate broker through Dynamic Commercial Real Estate.
Why the Need for Affordable Housing?
Home prices are rising twice as fast as wage growth and nearly 2/3 of renters cannot afford to buy a home. Additionally, studies show nearly half of all renters are cost-burdened, meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on rent! Therefore, in order to afford average DFW rents plus utilities of $1,500 per month, one would have to earn $60,000 per year or more. To exacerbate the issue, the high cost of land and construction make it virtually impossible for developers to construct new product and charge rents that the majority of people can afford. The rising cost of housing has pushed people from major urban centers where the greatest number of jobs are to the suburbs and exurbs where there are cheaper places to live. The housing cost savings are offset by an increase in transportation costs and loss of quality of life and time away from family.
What is the Solution?
The Housing Tax Credit Program is a financial tool created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 that provides incentives to developers to construct high quality housing, while being able to charge rents that are comparable with income. The Land Experts has taken advantage of this program and has provided housing to thousands of middle-class families and seniors on a fixed income.
What are the barriers to affordable housing?
The high cost of land and construction is just one part of the equation. Another part is the lack of appropriate zoning to accommodate rental housing. There’s also the preponderance of “NIMBY-ism,” or “Not In My Backyard” as neighborhoods attend council meetings to fight these very developments before they become a reality. Cities are beginning to make affordable housing part of their comprehensive plans, and developing housing policies to create the framework for this much needed housing. However, citizens need to be educated as to the need for affordable housing, and that it’s not something to be feared. After all, who among us has never lived in an apartment?
Photos courtesy of Palladium USA International, Inc.