Keys to the Valley conducted surveys of residents and public officials in 2020, view the survey methodology here.
Homeowners and renters agreed that cost was the biggest factor the region’s limited supply. The costs of construction, property taxes, and land, as well as current wages were highlighted by 70-80% of respondents as the top four contributing factors (Figure 3). Similarly, cost is noted by 94% respondents as a very or somewhat importance influence on their current choice of home. Most homeowners agreed that there are not enough homes available in the region (52%). A considerable portion of renters surveyed (80%) want to buy a home within 5 years, but cite cost-related challenges. If given the option to move and not including cost, respondents’ top priorities were energy efficiency upgrades (65%), home size (58%), and internet access (57%) (Figure 8).
The COVID-19 public health emergency has exacerbated the challenges residents face in affording homes, placing some at risk of no longer being able to afford their current housing due to job loss or job insecurity. Of renters, 30% were concerned about making rent. Of homeowners, 15% were concerned about making their utility or mortgage payments. Financial pressures on cost-burdened residents are unlikely to improve during the pandemic, and may worsen or persist well beyond it, unless relief is provided.
Top Causes of High Cost and Low Supply of Homes
There is a general agreement among residents that the challenges facing our regions homes are multiple and complex (Figure 3). Municipal officials were much more split in their opinions, but 70% agreed the cost of land and lack of existing infrastructure were the primary cause, see appendix for additional details.
In your own words…
- “We’d love to own instead of rent but can’t afford to save for a down payment with what we pay in rent”
- “I bought 23 years ago… wouldn’t be able to afford this home if I were buying today, and am very worried about being able to continue to afford the property taxes – which continue to increase at a rate faster than my paycheck increases”