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Report: Connecticut Housing Still Expensive, Scarce

by | Oct 17, 2013 1:53pm
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Posted to: The Economy, Housing

Connecticut’s housing is too expensive and too scarce, according to the HousingInCT2013 report released Thursday by the Partnership for Strong Communities.

The report found that since Connecticut ranks 50th in building affordable housing, the prices of the rental units available was driven upward at a time when the disparity in wealth increased. Connecticut’s wealth disparity is second only to New York’s, which badly drives up the prices of housing for low- and moderate-income households.

“Essentially the housing we have is not the housing we need,” David Fink, policy director for the Partnership for Strong Communities, said.

It’s a matter of supply and demand. The demand for these rental and affordable housing units is higher than the actual supply, he said.

Connecticut has the seventh highest percentage of residents over the age of 65 looking for “smaller, denser, more affordable, energy-efficient homes in walk-able communities that, if possible, are near transit. In the same way, Millennials are seeking the same housing options for the same reason: cost.”

Consistent with national trends, significantly more Connecticut residents are renting. That number grew in 2012 to 449,360 households — a third of state households — from 395,875 in 2007. An estimated 33 percent of Connecticut households rent and many will continue to rent, but a survey conducted this summer by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority found that 63.8 percent are interested or somewhat interested in becoming homeowners.

To make matters worse, the report found that high ownership rates and rental prices force more than 39 percent of Connecticut households to spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing — while more than 120,000 renting households spend 50 percent or more of their income on housing.

The downturn in the housing market has reduced the statewide median home value to $268,000 in 2012 from $278,000 in 2011, according to the report. It found fewer than 30 percent of Connecticut homes are valued under $200,000.

The economic recession has also taken many homeowners on a foreclosure roller coaster ride.

In 2012, 3,578 foreclosures were filed, up 31 percent from 2011, but still well below the 6,582 in 2010 at the depths of the downturn. Lis pendens filings also rose 47 percent to 18,526 in 2012, but remained below the peak of 24,544 in 2009.

At the same time there was an increase in homelessness.

In 2012, there were 14,287 residents experiencing homelessness. That represents a 10-percent increase from 2010, according to data from the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. Data show 4,155 families, with 2,524 children, experienced homelessness in 2012, a 5-percent rise in the number of families since 2011, but a 13-percent increase in the number of children.

But, according to Fink, the Partnership for Stronger Communities remains optimistic about what the future holds.

“Although Connecticut’s housing remains too expensive for many households, progress is being made,” the report says. “There are a growing number of municipal officials who understand how the housing market has changed and the state is also engaged in addressing the increasing demand for smaller, denser, more affordable units located in walkable locations such as town centers and transit station areas.”

And even though federal support for affordable housing has declined, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature have provided significant new financing for the preservation of existing affordable housing.

In 2012, Malloy announced that his administration will invest $263 million over 10 years to renovate and build more than 1,000 affordable rental units in cities across the state.

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