The New River Valley (NRV) is a desirable place to live and work. The region’s population is growing, creating more jobs and amenities, and it offers diverse settings as well as relative affordability and superior amenities that appeal to a variety of households and support our economic competitiveness. However, relatively low median days on market and steep price increases are evidence of a potential housing shortage. Whereas steady increases in demand (and thereby prices) are important for protecting the investments of current residents, a market with too little housing inventory makes housing upgrades or changes to more appropriate housing difficult (or impossible) for current residents and may stagnate growth. The NRV is facing various housing affordability and availability issues that are starting to affect the region’s quality of life and ability to grow.
Housing plays a critical role in economic opportunity for individual workers and their families, affecting current and future workers, employers, communities, and regional markets. Housing unaffordability is often why individuals and families experience instability in housing, accept substandard housing, or sacrifice other critical needs like child educational enrichment, medical attention, or food. In addition, deferring maintenance and living in overcrowded conditions may help households reduce burdensome housing costs but have their own consequences for the household and its neighbors.
Availability and affordability of housing have distinct effects on businesses and markets. Although high housing prices often reflect local amenities and economic opportunities in an area (Ratcliffe 2015), research suggests that high housing prices and few affordable options may constrain economic growth. A job–housing imbalance may impede economic development by making it difficult for businesses to recruit and retain employees (Morrison & Monk 2006).
Giving to THE VIRGINIA CENTER FOR HOUSING RESEARCH