The bad news:
Wayne County needs housing.
The good news:
We have a plan.
As with most rural communities, housing is a top concern for the future of Wayne County.
We’ve organized the top four challenges:
1) Blighted and abandoned homes
Blighted properties can include vacant, abandoned, boarded up, dilapidated, deteriorated condition, with excess junk and/or poorly maintained.
Besides being an eyesore for neighbors blighted properties directly impact a community’s sense of pride, lower a visitor’s impression of the community, contribute to increased crime rates and decrease surrounding property values, leading to decreased property values and less taxes for the city.
Other costs to the city:
Even if the property is privately owned, the city still has significant costs to maintain – waste clean up, pest control, police and fire. Additionally, these properties aren’t collecting property taxes.
The report, “Understanding the True Costs of Abandoned Properties: How Maintenance Can Make a Difference,” estimates that each property costs roughly $155,000 in its first year.
2) Stock of available housing does not meet demands
Current lack of:
Modern rentals, including:
Single family homes
Second story downtown units
Single family mid-range homes (100-180K)
Active adult and senior housing options
Local employers felt that a lack of quality and appropriate housing is directly impacting their recruitment and retention efforts. New employees cannot find quality rental units, or housing with desired amenities that today’s tenants are looking for leading to long distance commuters, accepting less desirable housing or taking a job elsewhere.
This is problematic both for local businesses as well as the local economy when workers do not have the option to live, work, and play locally.
3) Developers face cost gap
The problem lays in the cost gap; the cost to build does not equal the cost to sell or rent. Because of this, property owners and developers must charge a high amount to recoup costs. That leaves consumers with the choice to buy or rent an older home that needs significant work, be cost burdened by choosing a more expensive modern home or living in another community.
This challenge combined with the fact that it is easier and more economical to build in urban metros and a developer will normally need to pull in sub-contractors from metros, this compounds the housing shortage.
However, good paying jobs exist and are growing in Wayne County. We can build upon this to lure in developers, but we need to incentivize them.
While there has been some progress and Wayne County has existing programs that can provide benefits, a consolidated plan and new incentives are needed urgently to attract developers and spur development now.
4) Buyers face purchasing challenges
Cannot afford housing costs without being cost burdened
Do not have down payment required to purchase homes
Difficulty qualify for traditional housing loans