The problem fueling the essential housing crisis and how to fix it

Charlotte's tight housing market can prove unaffordable to young professionals, with high rents equal to half a person's income. The "essential housing" niche, a middle ground between luxury homes and lower-cost "affordable" housing, provides an opportunity to economize on construction costs and pass those savings on to renters. Fewer apartment floor plan options and fancy amenities can translate into rents up to $700 less, a marketing strategy that has given the developer a strong rental business – and its younger customers a relative bargain in an expensive market.

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