Impact of Housing Availability on Communities

Limited Housing Availability Impacting Community Well-Being and Workforce Development in New Hampshire

aerial view of a residential cul-de-sac

By many indicators, the New Hampshire economy has recovered from and expanded beyond the challenges and declines of the past several years. Unemployment across the region and in New Hampshire has reached historically low levels, and overall employment has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. However, a lingering challenge facing the state continues to be exacerbated.

Availability, affordability, and access to housing throughout New Hampshire are limited. The median sales price for a single-family home in the state rose 11.1% in July 2022 to $450,000. In tandem, single-family new home listings fell 12.7% and time on the market decreased 4.4%. This is an indication that demand for owner-occupied housing is strong. 1

New Hampshire’s rental market is in a similar state. Statewide vacancy rates for 2-bedroom units are at an all-time low at 0.3%. Median gross rent stands at $1.584 monthly, an increase of 5.7% over last year and a 26% increase over rental costs just 5 years ago. 2  

A limited supply of both owner-occupied and rental housing places additional cost burdens on individuals and families throughout the state, makes it difficult for businesses to attract and retain workers, and negatively impacts individual and community well-being. Lack of availability and higher housing costs inflict financial stress, reduce housing stability, inhibit wealth creation through homeownership, and slow local business growth.

The limited housing supply and subsequent rises in costs can be addressed by communities in a variety of ways. One option is for communities to consider their current and future needs and update their housing and land use regulations to work toward their unique housing development vision.

The just announced, InvestNH Municipal Planning & Zoning Grants Program, is available to municipalities to engage the community and develop a strategy to increase housing opportunities. Apply at www.NHHOPgrants.org

  1. Source: NHAR https://www.nhar.org/assets/docs/NHAR_MMI_2022-07.pdf
  2. Source: NHHousing https://www.nhhfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/NHHousing-2022-Rental-Cost-Report.pdf

Author(s)

Scott Slattery
Community and Economic Development Field Specialist
Assoc Field Specialist
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension Community & Economic Development, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824