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The original item was published from 9/22/2020 10:48:58 AM to 9/23/2020 10:57:50 AM.

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Posted on: September 22, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Wilkes EDC Publishes Housing Needs Assessment Results

The Housing Needs and Opportunities of the County are Diverse and Significant, and Efforts Should be Placed on a Broad Based Approach to Address Housing – Based on the survey of area multifamily rentals and for-sale housing alternatives, there is a clear lack of available housing in the county. This is particularly true for rental housing serving households with income of up to 80% of Area Median Household Income (generally earning below $47,000 a year). Regardless, as our housing gap estimates show (end of this Executive Summary), the depth of the housing needs among all levels of affordability is significant for both rental and for-sale housing product. As such, there are a variety of residential development opportunities within the county. Based on demographic characteristics and trends, much of the housing that is needed should be designed to meet the needs of smaller families, Millennials (ages 20 to 40), empty nesters (ages 55 to 64) and seniors (ages 65 and older). This would include unique amenities and designs that will appeal to younger households, unit size considerations for families, and accessibility and convenience for older adults and seniors. In the cases for both seniors and young adults, walkability may play a big part to the success of future housing. Therefore, housing developed in or near the larger towns in the county, as well as along or near public transportation routes, would be best positioned for success. Based on the current composition and projected changes among household types, including household sizes, it is anticipated that a majority of the rental units that will be needed will consist of one- and two-bedroom units and for-sale housing will primarily require one- to three-bedroom units. Based on the inventory of more modern housing alternatives in the market, it is anticipated that most market-rate rents for new, well-designed product will likely start at $1.30 per square foot and new for-sale housing could expect to start around $120 to $150 per square foot, though the finishes, features, level of customization, unit/land size and location can enable rent/price premiums over these numbers. Given the financial challenges often associated with the development of affordable housing alternatives, the local government may want to explore initiatives (e.g. gap financing, infrastructure assistance, reduced development fees, density bonuses, etc.) to help make the development of such housing more viable. 

Reda full report here. Housing Study 

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