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Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: Home Depot rolls out its new tiny home. Can initiatives like this make an impact on the affordable housing crisis?

Last weekend, Home Depot unveiled a new entry in the tiny homes category. Dubbed The Getaway Pad, the home is roomy by tiny home standards at 540 square feet — nearly double what some tiny homes run.

The catch? The tiny home doesn’t come out of the box (or off the truck) ready for prime time. It requires some pricey infrastructure improvements to make it move-in ready, so its highly touted price point of $44,000 only tells part of the story.

Affordability advocates like Louisiana real estate agent Kristina Smallhorn took the home for a virtual test drive and crunched the numbers on what it would take to make it livable.

The good news? While The Getaway isn’t the panacea for all of our affordability problems, it at least got the conversational ball rolling — a relief after two-plus years of all-cash offers, escalation clauses and bidding wars. The reality is that outside-of-the-box options of all kinds will be required to improve affordability and boost inventory in U.S. markets.

Home Depot unveils hefty 540-square-foot tiny home for $44,000 by Ben Verde

The “Getaway Pad” by manufacturer PLUS 1 Homes is a larger-than-life steel-framed pre-fab home features one bedroom, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living area and an outdoor spiral staircase that can potentially lead to a roof deck. A May 31 viral tweet featuring the home generated skepticism and interest from social media users.

The kit comes with the home’s steel structure — or the “shell” as Plus 1 Homes calls it — and the necessary parts to assemble it. Everything else such as doors, windows, electricity, plumbing and the advertised roof deck feature will cost you thousands more.

Read the full story

One of the best things about Inman contributors is that they come from a variety of perspectives. You’re just as likely to find information on affordability and fair housing as you are to learn about the latest luxury purchase — and that’s a good thing for agents who are looking to stay on top of the industry at large.

Here are some recent Inman articles about affordable housing, so that you can stay in-the-know on this important issue.

LISTEN: In today’s market, can doing good help agents do well?

Dr. Lee Davenport always offers her fresh perspectives on affordability and equity in the housing market. In this podcast episode, she interviews Atlanta broker-owner Amy McCoy in a wide-ranging discussion about community advocacy and housing equity. Here, Davenport takes on the myth that Realtors can’t do good for their communities while also doing well professionally and financially.

EXTRA: LISTEN: It’s not too late to advocate for affordable housing

‘Make the pie bigger:’ New York moves on 1st hotel conversion

New York’s Hotel and Commercial Conversions Program is set to “provide low-cost second mortgage financing for the acquisition and creation of permanent affordable and supportive rental housing in New York State,” according to Homes and Community Renewal New York.

Their first project is currently underway — a struggling Hilton hotel, near John F. Kennedy International Airport, which will be converted to nearly 300 affordable housing units, according to a plan unveiled by developer Slate Property group that was first reported by The New York Times.

Reimagining the housing choice voucher program

The Housing Choice Voucher program, established in the 1970s to provide a subsidy for low-income households to pay for private rental housing, is falling woefully short of its goal. In fact, only one in four people who qualify for the program receive support.

Meanwhile, strategy analyst David Piscatelli writes, we’ve seen a proliferation of institutional investment in single-family real estate properties in recent years. These newer owners not only have a natural alignment with the voucher program, but with relatively minor tweaks, could help provide thousands of additional families with quality, affordable housing and a pathway out of poverty.

5 myths (you may believe) about affordable housing

Record inflation and sky-high home prices, coupled with super-sized mortgage interest rates, have made affordability even more of an impossible dream for many would-be homebuyers.

After serving on committees ranging from local government to the National Association of Realtors, South Carolina real estate agent Missy Yost firmly believes much of the issue revolves around understanding what affordable housing is and what it is not. Here, she debunks common misconceptions around affordable housing that you may need to reconsider.

Christy Murdock is a freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. Connect with Writing Real Estate on Instagram and subscribe to the weekly roundup, The Ketchup.

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