MRV Housing Demand & Market Analysis Report

The Mad River Valley Housing Demand & Market Analysis provides a measured assessment of present and future unmet housing demand based on Mad River Valley-specific supply and demand factors. The report, authored by Doug Kennedy Advisors (DKA), is the result of a partnership between the Mad River Valley Planning District and the towns of Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston. This effort was initiated in response to community dialogues that identified a lack of quantitative data about local housing needs and market demand, and builds off of existing housing data that can be found in the 2017 MRV Housing Study and the annual MRV Data Reports.

The MRV Housing Demand & Market Analysis was presented to the MRVPD Steering Committee on 4/30/20. Presentation slides can be found here, and a video recording from MRVTV here.

The MRV Housing Demand & Market Analysis report offers community leaders a basis for making decisions regarding MRV-specific housing policy alternatives, development initiatives, and prioritization. While the analysis focuses on the Mad River Valley housing market as a whole (including Granville, Moretown, Duxbury & Waterbury), the report provides town-by-town data and findings regarding housing needs in Warren, Fayston and Waitsfield.

Highlights from the report's major findings can be found below. Overall, the report shows a significant lack of available housing stock that meets the housing needs of current and prospective MRV residents. The report suggests three priority housing projects, best located within the MRV village areas of Waitsfield, Irasville or Warren:

  1.  Workforce rental housing;
  2.  Senior rental housing; and,
  3.  An ownership project oriented toward first-time buyers.

 

Report Highlights

Demographics of Demand:
  • Current projections indicate that the combined study area communities will grow at a slow rate in the coming years - based on current reality of minimal new housing for year-round residents.
  • The major demographic trend in the MRV is an increase in households aged 65+, in addition to some projected growth among households aged 25-34 years.
  • The majority of the projected growth will occur among households in relatively high income brackets - which may reflect current scarcity of affordable housing.
MRV Housing Supply:
  • Total housing supply has increased during recent years, but the supply available for occupancy by year-time residents has not. It appears that additional supply has primarily been devoted to seasonal housing. Further, it is apparent that the dramatic increase in short-term rental use has reduced the supply available to full-time residents.
  • Rental housing (available to year-round residents) accounts for less than 20 percent of occupied housing. This is inconsistent with a local employment base that includes a substantial number of lower to moderate income service workers.
  • Rental vacancy is low. Repeated surveys of rental listings make it clear that it is difficult to find an available rental.
  • Ownership housing in the core towns is expensive; a median value of $335,000 in the core towns versus a median value of $217,000 for Washington County as a whole.
  • Like many communities with older housing stock, there is a significant mismatch between household size and housing size. 70% of MRV households include only one or two persons. However, only 32% of occupied housing units include zero, one or two bedrooms.
Employer Survey:
  • MRV employers indicate that 42% of their employees live outside the three core valley towns. Further, 46% of their recent hires lived outside of the three towns.
  • Employers indicate that a substantial segment of their employees that now live outside of the core towns would like to move to the MRV. Roughly half would choose to rent, while the remainder would choose to own.
  • The lack of appropriate/affordable housing in the MRV is a significant concern for employers. Almost all report that they have had to actively intervene in order to find suitable housing for new employees. Interventions have ranged from providing referrals to landlords to development of housing units.
Recommended Priorities for Housing Development Projects:
  • A mixed-income rental project oriented toward younger households. The project would include affordable Tax Credit rents ranging up to full market rate rents and include a mix of one, two and three bedroom units.
  • A rental project oriented toward low to low-moderate income seniors. The project would include subsidy and affordable Tax Credit rents and include a mix of one and two bedroom units.
  • An ownership project oriented toward first-time buyers. The project would be oriented toward younger/middle-aged households with incomes of 120+ percent of the median.