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What is “affordable housing”?

Affordability is a standard set by banks and lenders that is based on a percentage of household income. Most financial advisers recommend that a household should spend no more than 30% of its gross annual income on housing costs. For home buyers, that would include mortgage costs (principle and interest), insurance, taxes, and association fees, if any. For renters, that figure would include rent and utilities.

So, if your housing costs do not exceed 30% of your gross household income, your housing would be considered “affordable”. In the current environment, you may also hear it called “attainable housing” or “workforce housing”, but, technically, any housing that meets this generally accepted standard is affordable. Affordable housing can also be any type of housing — purchase or rental, single family, multi-family, condominium, town house, or apartments.