Affordable Housing Assessment & Jobs/Housing Study
Lehigh Valley, PA
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) was concerned that the continued strong economic growth in the Valley region of Lehigh and Northampton Counties would create unsustainable pressure on its housing supply and infrastructure. The Valley’s 11% population growth over the previous decade had far outpaced the State of Pennsylvania’s 3.4%. The region had also seen substantial job growth, which had mostly withstood the Great Recession to great effect. The Lehigh Valley was both a job center, with over 250,000 jobs, and home to a strong housing market, offering a high quality of life and convenient access to Greater Philadelphia. While economic growth is always desirable, it had created impacts on the region's housing costs, highway congestion, infrastructure expenditures, and environmental quality.
RKG Associates prepared an analysis that examined the market-based issues surrounding housing supply and affordability as they related to the Valley's recent and projected job growth. The analysis consisted of two key components. First, RKG led an assessment of existing housing costs versus Valley residents' income and wages. The assessment included an evaluation of housing quality issues, construction trends, housing policies and subsidy programs. In conjunction with the affordability assessment, RKG also prepared a Jobs/Housing Balance Study, which evaluated housing availability in proximity to existing job centers. In cooperation with the LVPC, RKG used mapping software to delineate targeted job center areas and their corresponding housing support regions.
The analysis identified general housing affordability issues within the Valley and sought to determine if there was an adequate supply of appropriately-priced housing within a desirable commuting distance to job center areas. Based on these findings, RKG prepared an implementation strategy that included both policy and regulatory recommendations in line with the community’s goals.
Photo Source: Discover Lehigh Valley