Montgomery County assessment shows need for more affordable housing


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County’s Planning Department completed its most recent assessment of housing needs in the county.

The Housing Needs Assessment showed how housing has changed in Montgomery County and how it will continue to change in the future.

Montgomery County’s growth is concentrated in two extremes when it comes to household income. One out of every two new households in the county makes $50,000 per year or less.

The county is also seeing a lot of growth in households making over $125,000 a year. The trend is expected to continue in coming years.

The number of available affordable units has seen a steep drop in recent years. In 2014, there were several thousand affordable units available, by 2018 that number receded to 800 units.

Montgomery Planning says this happened because of a “combination of increased demand, as well as the market driving up the rent.”

The department says Montgomery County is one of many jurisdictions around the country struggling to keep up with demand.

“We need to pay special attention to our supply and how we can increase it,” said Lisa Govoni, a housing policy coordinator with the planning department.

Those making less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income, which is $70,000 for a family of four, across “sub-markets” or cities and towns across Montgomery County will struggle to find a unit they can afford, Govoni said.

Part of the housing needs assessment is a forecast for the future of housing in Montgomery County.

“We are projected to add over 60,000 new households by 2040,” said Govoni.

Govoni added that the style or type of housing will likely change, too. The number of renters has increased with time.

“When you think of Montgomery County, you think of suburban single-family neighborhoods, but that doesn’t work for everyone,” she said. “We need to pay attention to special areas where we can put high-density units.”

“The new housing that is needed to meet the housing needs of new households, more than 50 percent is expected to be multifamily,” the planning department explained.

The study didn’t make any formal recommendations, but it will help the department make more informed decisions when planning for the county’s housing needs in the future, the General Plan, and subdivision planning.

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