Helpful housing

There are certainly more exorbitant places to live – such as Beverly Hills, Malibu or The Hamptons – but the region of Greater Boston and southern New Hampshire is quite expensive compared to many areas throughout the U.S. This is particularly true when it comes to the cost of buying a house or renting an apartment.

One recent example of this came to light when The Telegraph used U.S. Census data to compare the city of Nashua to that of South Bend, Indiana, home to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. In South Bend, the median value of an owner-occupied home was $81,100.

In Nashua, the value was $248,200 – or more three times the amount found in South Bend.

As for renters, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority information shows the monthly cost for a typical apartment in the Nashua area is about $1,400. That is for a two-bedroom unit, counting utilities.

For many, that $1,400 is simply not something they can afford every month. These may be people who have solid, full-time jobs, but because they don’t earn enough to pay $1,400 in rent, they are stuck living in substandard housing.

Some relief for these stressed renters is now in place, as the first 40 of a planned 153 units of “workforce housing” are now open at the corner of Marshall and East Hollis streets.

Manchester-based developer Dick Anagnost of Anagnost Realty and Development said demand at the new Nashua complex was so high prior to its May 1 opening that 191 individuals applied for the 40 apartments.

“The citizens of Nashua responded really, really well,” Anagnost told The Telegraph.

Nashua Urban Programs Manager Carrie Schena said city leaders are very aware of the problems.

“The need for affordable housing always exceeds the supply,” Schena said.

Anagnost has said the monthly rate for a one-bedroom unit at the new complex would go from about $900 to $1,060; a two-bedroom from about $1,080 to $1,270; and a three-bedroom could go for as high as $1,470.

Anagnost said 27 of the 40 apartments in the second building have already been rented, while other applicants are being evaluated.

In a city where so many struggle to find housing that is both adequate and affordable, we see this “workforce housing” project as quite helpful. Nashua has plenty of relatively high-end apartments, with complexes such as the Clocktower Place, Cotton Mill, Lofts 34 and the Residences at Riverfront Landing coming to mind.

Those projects are certainly assets to the city, but some of them even use the specific word “luxury” to describe their accommodations.

By definition, not everyone can afford luxury housing.