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Cost of Housing

White house with a large white porch with a green For Sale sign in the front yard.
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One of the many houses that Joanne Richards considered in her search for home, in which she could retire.

Mortgage rates soared above 7% in August hitting a 20-year high. That’s putting home buyers like Joanne Richards in a bind, and Virginia housing experts say the makeup of the state makes it difficult to address the challenge.  


JOANNE RICHARDS: It's so competitive right now.

ADRIENNE MCGIBBON: Joanne Richards is looking for a home to retire in.

JOANNE RICHARDS: There's so many, so many people vying for the same property. Every time something good hits the market, you just know you have to get right on it. Otherwise, there's absolutely no chance of getting it.

ADRIENNE MCGIBBON: She's made offers on three houses in three months, going above asking and waiving inspections, but nothing has come through. She says she has the luxury of time and the finances to cover the costs, but she worries about her children and other first-time home buyers.

JOANNE RICHARDS: How do you save for the down payment? And then once you get into the position where you think you can buy a home, then the mortgage interest rates start going up, and that can throw you out immediately.

ADRIENNE MCGIBBON: Virginia housing expert Jenny Schuetz says Virginia is complicated.

JENNY SCHUETZ: It's pretty large, and it has really different housing markets in different parts of the state.

ADRIENNE MCGIBBON: Virginia has expensive urban markets without enough properties, areas like Richmond that are seeing population booms, and rural areas losing populations with older and vacant homes.

JENNY SCHUETZ: It's a long way from the southwest tip all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, and you cover everything in between. That makes it really challenging for the state, for instance, to have some kind of a coherent housing policy, because they're really trying to come up with policies that fit lots of different local circumstances.

ADRIENNE MCGIBBON: Schuetz says the key is to make sure communities build more housing with a wider range of prices. Joanne says she's considering taking a break from her home hunting until the market cools.


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