The Differences Between Market-Rate and Affordable Housing

The Differences Between Market-Rate and Affordable Housing

Blog post picture of a suburban neighborhood, titled "The Differences Between Market-Rate and Affordable Housing"

The Differences Between Market-Rate and Affordable Housing

If you’ve been involved in the housing industry for any period of time, you’ve probably heard the terms “market-rate housing” and “affordable housing.” But what exactly is the difference between the two? Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you.


Market-Rate Housing

Market-Rate Housing is also known as conventional housing. This just means that the property does not have any type of subsidy, and the resident pays the full amount of the rent that is determined by the market.

Attributes of Market-Rate Housing:

  • The lease terms are customizable
  • No restrictions on additional services and fees you are able to provide to the tenant
  • You can non-renew a lease for any reason
  • The rent is not guaranteed (residents may or may not pay, might be late on rent)
    • Late payments/refusal to pay could lead to eviction
  • You can create your own screening criteria
  • There’s no limit on the rental amount that you can charge
    • Rent is dictated by what someone is willing to pay for the unit

If you want to check out our available market-rate properties, click here.


Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing is also known as subsidized housing, meaning that the property is receiving a subsidy from a governmental agency whereby the resident is only responsible for a portion of the rent. This portion of the rent that they owe is typically based on their income.

Attributes of Affordable Housing:

  • Lease terms are subject to the agency issuing the subsidy
  • The rental subsidy payments may be subject to property inspections from the agency
  • You are limited in reasons for non-renewing a lease
  • The rent is guaranteed by the agency issuing the subsidy
  • Your screening criteria is also dependent on the agency that’s issuing the subsidy
  • The rental amount is dictated by the agency that’s issuing the subsidy
  • There are income restrictions for residents to qualify

If you want to learn more about the different types of Section 8, check out this blog post.

If you want to check out our available affordable housing properties, click here.


All in All

Whether the property is market-rate or affordable housing, our primary goal is still the same: to provide safe and habitable housing for all of our residents, as well as professional management services to meet our clients’ goals for any property that we manage. 

We have 40+ years of expertise in all aspects of housing in and around the Pittsburgh area, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Arbors Management, Inc. Gains Management of Lakeview Manor

Arbors Management, Inc. Gains Management of Lakeview Manor

Lakeview Manor 1

Stoneboro, PA – Arbors Management continues to expand their reach by adding Lakeview Manor in Stoneboro, PA to their portfolio. Effective June 1st, Arbors will become the new management agent of the 50-unit senior building near their new office in Grove City and other Arbors-managed properties, such as Evergreen Arbors in Franklin and Towne Towers in Oil City.

Lakeview Manor is an affordable independent senior living facility that offers a wonderful community of residents and has been a staple of the community for 36 years since its construction in 1987. Located near Lake Wilhelm, Goddard State Park, the Stoneboro Fairgrounds, Grove City Outlet Mall, and Conneaut Lake, residents have plenty to do just minutes from the property.

Since 1982, Arbors Management, Inc. has built a portfolio of over 4,000 residential units with a large majority in the affordable housing segment across Western PA and West Virginia, and it continues to grow each year. The team at Arbors Management is thrilled to begin building a lasting relationship with the residents of Lakeview Manor.

Read the original article online on the Pittsburgh Business Times here.

Property Spotlight: Weston Arbors

Property Spotlight: Weston Arbors

By: Nicole Fandel, Marketing Specialist, and Glenda McCrary, Property Manager at Weston Arbors

Welcome to Weston Arbors! 

Weston Arbors 1-minWeston Arbors is a high-rise apartment building consisting of 8 floors and a total of 119 one-bedroom apartments, each equipped with a refrigerator, range, individually controlled heat and air conditioning, wall to wall carpeting, and a private balcony. We have onsite management, maintenance, and a resource coordinator, onsite laundry facilities, and a large community room and lounge for residents to enjoy – not to mention a gorgeous view of the West Virginia mountains!

In case you didn’t know, Weston Arbors was built in 1980 but has undergone recent renovations! Some of these updates include new carpeting in the hallways, new carpeting and seating in the community room, removal of multiple trees on the property to allow for more natural light, and more. 


What’s Around Weston Arbors?

While we have the privilege of privacy, we are located within walking distance of Dollar General and Lewis County Park. We are also within a few minutes of local shops and restaurants like Giovanni’s, the Lewis County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Shop ‘n Save Express, and more.

(picture source)

About Weston, West Virginia

A fun fact about Weston is that it is the county seat of Lewis county, where General Stonewall Jackson grew up during the Civil War. Weston, WV is also home to one of the largest hand-cut stone buildings in the world. It was built in 1864 and originally was a mental hospital, but now serves as a National Historic Landmark and offers ghost tours. Weston is also known historically for its large contributions to the glassmaking industry (source, picture source).

A Look Inside Our Homes

Weston Arbors 11-min Weston Arbors 14-min Weston Arbors 16-min Weston Arbors 15-min Weston Arbors 18-min

About the Manager: Glenda McCrary

Weston Arbors - Glenda McCraryProperty manager Glenda McCrary has one daughter and has been married since 11/11/2011 – she also is from a family of 10 children! Originally working as a nurse, Glenda thought it was time for a change and decided to jump into the world of property management. She has been a part of the Weston Arbors community since October of 2014 and hasn’t looked back since!


Interested in Weston Arbors?

If you’re interested in filling out an application or learning more about Weston Arbors and all we have to offer, please take a look at our property page or contact property manager Glenda McCrary at 304-269-7344 or

Property Spotlight: Carmichaels Arbors

Property Spotlight: Carmichaels Arbors

By: Brady Merkle, Regional Operations Manager, and Michelle Cherup, Property Manager at Carmichaels Arbors

Welcome to Carmichaels Arbors! 

Carmichaels Arbors is a beautiful community consisting of 76 garden-style apartments. We have 16 buildings spread over four acres with sidewalks leading to the front door of every apartment.  Every resident has their own patio and garden area where they plant beautiful flowers and vegetable gardens. Property grounds are meticulously maintained by onsite staff all year round. The community is tucked away in a quiet area of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, just a few blocks from the quaint town circle and necessary stores, banks, and restaurants.


Carmichaels, PA is a small borough located about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA and approximately 30 miles southeast of Washington, PA.  Notable places to visit near Carmichaels include the Skyview Drive-In Theatre and Thistlethwaite Vineyards. Cedarwood Apartments, another property managed by Arbors Management, is only one mile away from Carmichaels Arbors.


What makes Carmichaels Arbors most special are the residents. They are a friendly group that care for and watch out for one another. When the weather is nice, you’ll see big smiles and hear joyful laughter coming from our beautiful courtyard in the middle of the complex. Residents also gather in our charming community room to play cards and bingo, and to have the most fun and festive holiday parties. Those of us who get to work and live at Carmichaels Arbors are very fortunate to be a part of such a special community!

Did You Know?

Carmichaels Arbors is a Project Based Section 8 Housing community and became so after its construction in 1978. Our affordable apartments are designated for the elderly and persons with disabilities. 

The community room is a great place for residents to socialize with their friends and neighbors. The community room is used for hosting all sorts of events including cards/bingo, birthday and holiday parties, and a monthly Library Program. It even has a computer station open to the residents!

The property is almost entirely smoke-free, but we do still have a central designated smoking section for residents to utilize.

A Look Inside Our Homes

Our 1-bedroom garden-style apartments have private entrances and plenty of space to make a cozy, welcoming home!


About the Manager: Michelle Cherup

My professional career started as an Administrative Assistant at Howard Hanna Real Estate. After working there for several years, I decided it was not for me. After I had my son, I decided I wanted a job closer to home, so I got a job working for a small property management company called Dentino Agency in California, PA, which managed housing for college students. The owner encouraged me to get my Real Estate license. While working there, I found that I really liked the property management side of real estate.

After working a couple of other positions, one wonderful day, I saw the Property Manager job posting for Carmichaels Arbors and Arbors Management. I immediately applied, as the property was only 15 minutes from my home. I had my interview with Paul Lingenfelter; we hit it off from the moment I met him and the rest is history. To me, working at Carmichaels Arbors is a dream job; I love the property, my co-workers, and especially the residents.

My husband and I love to travel to new places. He won’t fly but that’s okay because he will drive anywhere. Places we have traveled to in the past are San Antonio, TX, Memphis, TN, Boston, MA, Cape Cod, MA, Orlando, FL, Key West FL, Pensacola Beach, FL, Nashville, TN and we have been to Ocean City, MD, Myrtle Beach, SC and the Outer Banks, NC.

We are excited this year to be traveling to Key West, FL again; we are stopping at Savannah, GA on the way down for a few days and Daytona Beach, FL on our way back. Every month we try to go somewhere for a weekend trip. Some of my favorite weekend spots are Deep Creek, MD and Annapolis, MD where the seafood is delicious. My favorite place we have ever been is Key West, FL, and we are so excited to be going back this July. I have a feeling it will be hard to leave, so if I don’t return, you will find me selling straw hats on a corner in Key West! 

My husband Jim and I are high school sweethearts, the old football player/cheerleader story. We have been happily married for 35 years this coming October. We have one son, Austin; he is 25 and we are very proud of him. We also have a silly grand-dog named Willie Nelson who we adore. I am truly blessed with the life I have!

Interested in Carmichaels Arbors?

If you’re interested in filling out an application or learning more about Carmichaels Arbors and all we have to offer, please take a look at our property page or contact property manager Michelle Cherup at 724-965-7111 or

Section 8 Housing: Section 8 Vouchers vs. Project-Based Section 8 Housing

Section 8 Housing: Section 8 Vouchers vs. Project-Based Section 8 Housing

By: Cindy Peterle-Harris, Director of Compliance at Arbors Management


Section 8 Housing: Section 8 Vouchers vs. Project-Based Section 8 Housing

It’s likely that you’ve heard of Section 8 housing, or its two subcategories, but do you know exactly what it is? 

According to this article on, the Section 8 Housing program is “the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.”

Oftentimes, there can be confusion regarding the Section 8 program, who qualifies for Section 8 housing, what it means for owners and their rental properties, and more.

Today, we’re going to try to clear up some of that confusion for owners and tenants by discussing Section 8 and breaking down the two housing programs – Section 8 Vouchers and Project-Based Section 8 Housing – that fall under that title.


Program #1: Section 8 Voucher Program

The first type of Section 8 housing is the Section 8 Voucher Program. 

A Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is a type of housing assistance that will pay a portion of the rent that is charged on a unit. 

The Voucher is awarded by the local Housing Authority to a qualified applicant and can be used at any rental property that accepts Section 8 Vouchers.


Who Qualifies for the Section 8 Voucher Program? 

There are income and household composition requirements that must be met to qualify, but the applicant should contact the local housing authority for more information on those requirements.


Accepting Vouchers as a Property Owner

If you’re a single-family rental property owner, you can agree to accept these Section 8 Housing Vouchers if you so choose. If you do, you will receive all or some of the rental payment directly from the housing department every month. 

Many rental property owners in Pittsburgh find this to be a good strategy because it’s guaranteed rent. You won’t have to chase down residents for late rent or missing payments because you know exactly where the money is coming from – a government agency.

However, even though your rent payment is guaranteed, there are still some hoops to jump through when you accept Section 8 Vouchers at your rental property. 

Your property will have to undergo several different types of inspections. If there are any habitability issues, you’ll need to fix them right away – otherwise the Voucher program will not approve you for participation. 

Additionally, there can be delays with rent payments, especially if there’s a government shutdown.

There can also be a difference in market rental values. With a market-rate property, you can set the rent at whatever you want; as long as the market will bear what you’re asking, you’ll get the rental price you ask for. But with a Section 8 Voucher, you are limited to what the Section 8 program determines is the acceptable rent rate for your property.


Does Arbors Management Accept Section 8 Vouchers?

Arbors Management will accept Housing Choice vouchers for the properties that have Low Income Tax Credits attached to them: The Meadows Apartments and 38 West Prospect Road in Washington, PA. 

We do not accept Vouchers for our Project-Based Section 8 or PRAC (Project Rental Assistance Contracts) properties because there is already a deep subsidy attached to the unit itself. If an applicant has a Housing Choice Voucher and moves to a Project-Based Section 8 or PRAC unit, the applicant will lose the Voucher. 

When looking for housing with a Section 8 Voucher, please be sure to check with your leasing agent to see if the owner will accept a Housing Choice Voucher.   


Program #2: Project-Based Section 8 Housing

Project-Based Section 8 properties have an agreement with HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) that HUD will pay a portion of the contract rent (the rent rate that HUD has established for the property) for qualified residents. 

The resident will pay 30% of his or her adjusted gross monthly income and HUD will pay the difference between the rent paid by the resident and the contract rent on the unit.

Project-Based Section 8 Housing is a little bit different than the Voucher Program. In this case, the subsidy is attached to the property, not the person. So, funding is given out based on the property, not an individual person and their income.


Who Qualifies for Project-Based Section 8 Housing?

It all depends on the property! 

Eligibility factors always include an income limit based on a percentage of the median household income. This income limit is set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It’s updated annually and the income limit increases for every household member living in the unit.  

Other eligibility criteria include age or disability if the property is considered an elderly property, as well as number of persons that will be living in the household. 

Finally, for a household to qualify for a unit in this program, the household must require at least one dollar of subsidy even if it is below the income limit for the property/household size. 

The best way to discover the eligible criteria for a property is to contact the Property Manager and ask what the eligibility criteria are for it.


What Are the Differences Between the Two Programs?

While both programs provide “deep subsidy” assistance, the major difference between the two is that in the Housing Choice Voucher program, the subsidy is attached to the tenant not the unit, while in Project-Based Section 8 programs, the subsidy is attached to the unit, not the tenant. 

In other words, a tenant who has a housing choice voucher may move to another location and still receive Section 8 assistance, but with a Project-Based Section 8 property, if the tenant moves he or she may not transfer the subsidy to another property.


What Are the Similarities Between the Two Programs?

For both Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Section 8 units, the tenant is required to provide income, asset and expense information on an annual basis. Rent will be adjusted yearly based on the information that is provided.

It is also important to note that despite differences in requirements for each program, the purpose of the two programs remains the same: to assist low-income families, persons with disabilities, and elderly by providing comfortable, safe housing.


In Conclusion…

There are two types of Section 8 Housing: Section 8 Voucher Program and Project-Based Section 8 Housing.

While both programs are meant to help low-income families, persons with disabilities, and the elderly, they do so in different ways. Section 8 Vouchers are attached to the tenant, while the subsidy for Project-Based Section 8 Housing is tied to the unit. 

Section 8 can be a confusing topic, especially if you’re not dealing with the program on a daily basis. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d be happy to help you manage your Section 8 property or help you find an affordable place to call home.

Phone: 1(800)-963-1280