WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — The median price of real estate in Wake County was $462,000 in May of this year, which, according to the county’s Register of Deeds, is another new record high.

Habitat for Humanity of Wake County is continuing its work to make homeownership more accessible through affordable mortgages, but not without challenges.

What You Need To Know

  • As of May 2022, the median price of real estate in Wake County was $462,000

  • Habitat for Humanity of Wake County works to make homeownership accessible through affordable mortgages

  • The nonprofit says, on average, it’s costing them $60,000 more to build every home

  • Habitat usually builds about 50 homes in Wake and Johnston counties, but it’s now around 35 to 45 homes due to increased costs

Brad McHugh is the vice president of construction operations at Habit for Humanity of Wake County and has been with the nonprofit for two decades.

“We are on track to build 34 homes this year. That's slightly down from 40 last year,” McHugh said. “The goal for Habitat for Humanity is to be able to provide affordable housing to those who may not otherwise typically qualify for traditional mortgages.”

McHugh says he truly believes in the work that Habitat does.

“I enjoy what I do because we are able to work closely with our homebuyers. This is one of the few nonprofits where it's not just words. There’s actions. We are building homes with families. They are coming out and doing sweat equity. They are being a part of the process,” McHugh said.

As more people move to the area, there’s an even greater need for affordable housing.

“With the population growth that's happened over the last five to 10 years, the need has only increased. On average, there’s one in four families in our area that need affordable homes,” McHugh said.

But as building costs increase, so do the prices of homes.

“It's costing us on average about $60,000 more per home to construct these homes this year. So, unfortunately, if we are not able to offset those costs in other ways, that just means it's less for us to be able to build,” McHugh said.

Normally, they’d build about 50 homes a year in Wake and Johnston counties, but that number is now around 35 to 40 homes.

“Every family is important to us. We want to serve as many families as possible, so even 10 or 15 less than we are used to is difficult when those families are out there still looking for affordable homes,” McHugh said.

Some of Habitat’s new three bedroom townhomes in Raleigh are expected to be priced in the mid-$200,000s.

“Our families, the qualification process is between 25% and 80% of the AMI, or area median income. So, often families are cost burden. They're spending more than 30% of their take [home] pay on housing,” McHugh said.

Habitat is able to keep things affordable because mortgages through the nonprofit are based off what each homebuyer can afford.

“The important thing to focus on for us is that even though the rising prices are happening around us, we structure the mortgages to make sure they are still affordable to the homebuyers that are purchasing them,” McHugh said.

While it feels like factors might be piling up against them, McHugh says they’re committed more than ever to making sure families can afford to own a home.

“It is difficult currently in terms of the things impacting us — just outside of construction with materials and prices and things like that. But we are still confident that we’ve got the means to be able to provide that housing with that community support,” McHugh said.

One way Habitat for Humanity is able to keep prices affordable is through volunteer help on job sites. To learn more about volunteering with the nonprofit, visit Habitat for Humanity of Wake County’s website.