Access to affordable housing was ranked high by survey respondents, sandwiched between employment and federal and state budget concerns. Although affordable housing organizations are over-sampled in the survey, only half of the affordable housing organizations indicated that affordable housing was a major issue. (Chart 2) In fact, housing organizations, like other respondents in the survey, saw employment and budget cuts (state, local, and federal combined) as more important challenges facing lower-income communities than the availability of affordable housing.
When asked specifically about availability of affordable housing, the majority of respondents noted no change over the past six months. While slightly more respondents see the affordable housing situation improving in the next six months compared to the past six months, the majority anticipate further stagnation in their communities. (Figure 5)
Source: the Warren group.
Foreclosures use date of
recording of foreclosure deed.
What Concerns Service Providers in the Affordable Housing Sector
|Federal, state, and local budget cuts||69.8%|
|Availability of employment opportunities||51.2%|
|Access to affordable housing||48.8%|
|K - 12 education||18.6%|
|Negative impact of vacant properties||14.0%|
|Prevalence of crime/Public safety||9.3%|
|Adult workforce development programs||7.0%|
|Predatory and/or fraudulent financial services||4.7%|
|Access to nonpredatory mortgage lending||4.7%|
|Access to small business loans||2.3%|
|Access to higher education||2.3%|
According to the census, with the exception of Connecticut, the New England states all have lower rental vacancy rates than the national rate. (Figure 6)
Drilling down into the major metropolitan areas of New England, the disjointed recovery is reflected in the different unemployment rates, ranging from a low of 3.4% in Burlington, VT, to a high of over 15% in Hartford. (Chart 3) With such high unemployment and relatively low median incomes in many of the major metropolitan areas, rents and housing costs may be driven down. Rents remained relatively stable in the period from 2009 to 2011, with few areas’ rents rising more than 3% in total. A couple cities actually saw median rents fall in the period from 2009 to 2011. In other New England cities, like Providence, RI, the unemployment rate, as of March 2013, has yet to fall below 10%. The median income trails the nation’s by almost $14,000, and the housing and rental costs exceed those nationally.
The survey respondents expected little change in the availability of affordable housing over the next six months. High unemployment and high housing costs in many New England cities make them unaffordable for many lower-income residents, and limited increase in availability of affordable housing is expected in the next six months.
General Housing/Demographic Characteristics of Major Cities in New England
|City||Population||Median income||Unemployment rate 03/13||Median monthly housing cost||Median rent 2011||Rent change 2009-2011|
|New Haven, CT||129,213||$39,094||11.6%||$1,170||$1,055||2.6%|
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census, and American Community Survey 2011.
Top Three Challenges
1. Availability of Employment Opportunities