Planning Commission Highlights Affordably-Priced Housing Issue

Did you know that the median housing value in Chester County in 2017 was $337,000 – the highest in the state?

That can make it difficult for a broad spectrum of people – professionals, those in the trades, first-time home buyers, and seniors – to afford housing in Chester County. To delve more into this data, check out the Planning Commission’s PowerPoint presentation

To put things into perspective, an agricultural worker with a median annual income of $34,200 a year can only afford to buy 2 percent of the homes in the county, and a truck driver who makes $49,060 a year can afford 8 percent of the homes. Those with higher incomes still face challenges with housing costs. A police officer who earns $70,270 a year can afford 23 percent of the homes in Chester County; an accountant who makes $83,760 a year can afford 38 percent, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Workforce Development and a Chester County Planning Commission analysis.

Data also shows that household income has not kept pace with increases in housing costs. Fewer homes are for sale, which also affects housing costs. Landscapes3, the county’s newly adopted comprehensive plan, found that the demand for more diverse housing is increasing. In addition, housing is unaffordable for much of our current and future population, including young couples, families, and professionals. County residents who rent are particularly vulnerable to escalating housing costs.

An estimated 55,000 new homes will be needed in the county by 2045 to accommodate a projected 30 percent increase in population, including 64,000 more senior citizens. Affordably-priced housing is expected to continue to challenge county and municipal officials, planners, and the business community. As part of the beginning of a countywide discussion on this issue, the Planning Commission and Chester County 2020 sponsored a two-hour Citizen Planners’ Breakfast, “Affordably-Priced Housing,” on December 13. Learn more.