January 3, 2022 7:00am

Affordable Housing Tops Triangle's 2022 Priorities

However, folks didn't express much confidence in local leaders to ability to address the issue.

Photo of Leigh Tauss
Durham, NC Correspondent

The results are in!

Thank you kindly to the folks who took the time to fill out this survey. While it's a small sample size–which I’m hoping will grow over the months to come–it sheds light onto what our most influential citizens are prioritizing in 2022, and their faith in local leaders to get things done.

So let's get right into it.

I asked our members in Raleigh, Durham, and Cary what they think will be the most critical issue for the Triangle to address in 2022. Nearly half, 49 percent, picked affordable housing, while 22 percent chose crime reduction (we'll get back to both of those in a minute.)

Just 18 percent of folks said fair elections was their biggest priority, followed by climate change, which 9 percent of responders picked. No one picked reproductive rights and only one of you wasn't sure.

The Triangle's housing market was already red hot before the pandemic. Add to that the migration of many workers away from larger metros areas to less expensive midsize cities, and you get a market that has gone nuclear. Houses once considered "affordable"––those under $250,000––fly off the market often within a day of listing, sometimes scooped up by out-of-state investors.

While wintertime usually represents a slump in home sales, that simply hasn't been the case in the Triangle and prices continued to creep up in Wake County between October and November.

As of last month, the Triangle Multiple Listing Service calculated homes in the Triangle had increased by about 21 percent since last year. Some areas, like Durham, had even higher increases: homes there have appreciated nearly 28 percent since 2020.

“2021, despite Covid, is the most incredible sellers market the Triangle has ever seen,” Real Estate Agent Jim Allen recently told WRAL Tech Wire. “We are still experiencing a severe lack of inventory of homes to sell.”

Despite Durham's burgeoning housing crisis, our responders there had different priorities. Filtering out results from our Raleigh and Cary members, 45 percent of Durham members said crime reduction is their top priority, followed by affordable housing at 35 percent.

And that makes sense: This year has been one of the Bull City's deadliest on record, with 47 homicides as of this week. According to the News & Observer, 2021 is the deadliest year since at least 1995, when police started tracking homicide electronically.

Cary, meanwhile, overwhelmingly chose affordable housing as its biggest issue to combat in 2022, with 71 percent of members behind it. Interestingly, not a single person in Cary picked crime reduction as their top issue. Must be nice to live in Cary.

Next, I ask members how much confidence they had in local leaders to address their community's most pressing issues next year. The answer: not that much.

The largest group of respondents, 36 percent, rated their confidence a "coin toss," while 29 percent said they were "fairly confident." Another 14 percent of folks said they were "not confident" and just 7 percent said they had "strong confidence" in leaders. Another 14 percent said they weren't sure or did not know. Somehow, no one picked "if anything, they'll make it worse."

Still, even if we chalk up coin toss as not overtly pessimistic, that leaves just 36 percent of folks with any faith local leaders will make progress in 2022. Not exactly a glowing approval rating.

Finally, I asked y'all about what your New Years' resolutions are for 2022. Not surprisingly after two years of living through a pandemic, more than two-thirds of you picked health and wellness as your top goal, followed by financial goals and spending time with family. Only one of your picked "I'm perfect as is."

Well, lucky you.

Wishing you all a great New Year!

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