State lawmaker takes aim at rising rents

Bills, bills, bills

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Sen. Marlon Kimpson
  • Sen. Marlon Kimpson
Recognizing Charleston’s increased need for affordable housing, state Sen. Marlon Kimpson is introducing three bills Tuesday with the hopes of making the city and state more livable for all residents.

“We have a problem. The median price of a house in Charleston is $235,000, much higher than it was at the peak in 2007 of $210,000,” Kimpson said in a statement released by his office. “This trend is not unique to Charleston. People can’t afford to buy the homes offered for sale in our cities because working-class wages have remained stagnant.”

Among the senator’s plans for housing is one bill that would allow county governments to increase building fees by 10 percent and require that those fees be used for affordable housing programs. Other legislation put forth by Kimpson this week would allow those eligible to receive a federal low-income housing tax credit to also claim a matching state credit, and one bill would increase South Carolina’s deed recording fee by 20 cents. Half of the funds gained from this increase would be required to go to the state Housing Finance and Development Authority, with the other half being used to establish local trust funds for affordable housing.

According to the Living Wage Calculator developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a single adult living alone in Charleston County can be expected to pay around $8,688 in housing expenses annually. Factoring in the cost of rent and other necessary expenses, an individual must earn approximately $11.56 an hour to receive a living wage provided they are working full-time. This figure increases to $11.68 an hour for two working parents with one child, and the estimated housing expense rises to $10,752 a year per adult.

“Ethnic and socio-economic diversity in our cities is important. It’s what makes us culturally significant,” Kimpson added. “The time is now to address this issue before more working-class families are displaced by the sharp rise in housing prices.”


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