The potential for growth and the reality of short supply are among the main findings in a housing study recently unveiled by Ignite Emporia.
On KVOE’s Talk of Emporia on Friday, both Ignite Emporia Director Rob Gilligan and Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeanine McKenna mentioned ongoing concerns about affordability and availability while also mentioning the prospects for growth — if both Emporia and Lyon County can build more homes and develop more buildable lots for housing. McKenna says the local opportunities are currently tempered by the lack of housing.
McKenna says 34 homes need to be built in Emporia and 46 total across the county per year to offset the domino effect. Numbers are increasing, in large part due to city efforts in Rural Housing Incentive Districts or infill housing, but both levels are short of what’s needed.
When the housing market is tight — and Emporia right now has only about 1.5 months worth of available homes, about a quarter of the standard — there is a significant ripple effect for homes including values, market rates, tax rates and assessments. There is also a ripple effect on the rental market by keeping potential homeowners in rental homes or apartments longer, tightening that supply and driving up those prices as well.
Gilligan says the time is now to develop a plan and improve the housing situation, both for Emporia and Lyon County.
McKenna says housing in all price ranges is needed, but the “sweet spot” is for homes between $125,000-$200,000.
The housing study, funded by Simmons Pet Food, is a key component of Ignite Emporia’s plans to develop the county’s workforce and community along with marketing and business retention. It followed over 20 different meetings with stakeholders and the general public as well as an online survey that generated close to 900 responses.