Augusta Free Press

Study addressing impact of housing on Virginia economy released

A new study, Addressing the Impact of Housing for Virginia’s Economy, focused on Virginia’s housing sector and the links between housing and other key policy areas was released by state officials in November.

The independent report reveals that even though Virginia has made strides in bridging the affordable housing gap, particularly in functionally ending veteran homelessness, increasing state support for the Housing Trust Fund, and growing the number of permanent supportive housing units, the Commonwealth still has a shortage of housing that is affordable to a substantial share of households.

The findings indicate that Virginia needs to produce significant levels of new affordable housing to accommodate anticipated workforce growth. While this report was a statewide effort, it provides valuable information for area stakeholders and localities in the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission region. The Harrisonburg Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Staunton-Waynesboro Metropolitan Statistical Area fall into a category that reflects relatively lower housing costs and access to home ownership opportunities offset in some jurisdictions by high transportation costs or tight markets.  Report findings for rural communities like Bath, Highland and Rockbridge Counties show that opportunities for revitalization exist from demand for housing in towns, second-home markets often drive up housing costs for low-wage households, and the challenges of older structures, incomplete facilities, and vacant, abandoned housing create additional barriers.

Data specifically focused on areas within the CSPDC region includes:

The CSPDC has been assisting localities with exploring solutions to affordable housing challenges, and hosted a Regional Housing Summit and an event on Affordable Housing and Economic Development in 2017.  The newly released report provides additional data and key findings to assist in future planning efforts in the CSPDC region.

The complete report, commissioned by the Housing Policy Advisory Council, was written by academic experts from George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, and the College of William and Mary.

The summary report and nine additional reports are available online at www.vchr.vt.edu/VirginiaHousingEconomicLinkages.

More information about the Housing Policy Advisory Council is available at www.virginiahousingpolicy.com.