Community leaders, employers, and employees have long expressed concerns over the perceived inventory and affordability of housing in Washington County. Recently Washington County retained EDWC to conduct a comprehensive study on housing.
Washington County Housing Availability & Affordability Key Findings
Through that study, we identified several key findings regarding housing affordability for the workforce in Washington County:
- Significant portions of the residents in Washington County are cost burdened, spending more than 30% and, in many cases, greater than 50% of their household budget on housing costs.
- Households earning at or below 50% of the median-income are the most cost-burdened group in the county when it comes to housing.
- Wage rates for 4 of the 5 largest job groups in the county fall below 50% of the median-income ($18.67/hour).
- Difficulty in saving for a down payment is a barrier to home ownership.
- Price points for first time home buyers are high compared to income levels.
Down payments are the initial barrier and the lack of savings for it are only a part of entry into home ownership. The first year of home ownership is definitely expensive. In addition to the down payment, cash expenditures include, what can be, significant closing costs. Then there are appliances, lawn mowers etc. that are purchased when buying a home for the first time.
Personal Savings Snapshot
Lenders and developers continue to indicate concern about the ability of their customers to save enough for housing down payments, even at down-payments of 5% rather than the traditional 20%.
A national study of 2,000 people in 2020 indicated that the breakdown for personal savings was:
- 56% of Americans have $5,000 or less in savings, while a third have $1,000 or less.
- The median savings amount is $3,500
- The Federal Reserve reports that 39% of Americans don’t have enough money on hand to cover a $400 emergency.
The process of finding solutions through public/private partnerships has begun in Washington County with participants from the business community, educators as well as municipal and county staff. Through the Next Generation Housing initiative, they are working to resolve the housing issue and provide attainable quality housing opportunities for young professionals and build a diverse housing profile in the County.
Retaining and attracting young workers to our county couldn’t be more critical than it is now with the workforce shortages all businesses face.
Ready to Know More?
Learn more about how we can put data to work for you in uncovering barriers and solutions to recruiting and retaining the workforce your organization needs, connect with Dan Anhalt.
For more information regarding how EDWC can help your organization, get in touch today.