4/11/2018 – Push for new housing is a prime focus for Caldwell EDC

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by admin


April 11, 2018


By Guy Lucas
(Lenoir) News-Topic


The law of supply and demand isn’t working when it comes to housing in Caldwell County, economic development officials say.


More than 50 new industries have opened here since 2008, about 1,000 jobs have been added each of the past four years – including many higher-paying jobs in high-skilled industries – and the median income is rising, but the housing here remains stagnant, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


Murray told the EDC’s board of directors Tuesday that she had gathered housing and income statistics to help developers make the case to lenders for the need for new housing, especially multi-family housing. Lenders have been skeptical in the past, she said.


“The comment has been, ‘If you needed it, it would already be here,’” she said.


Nearly 85 percent of existing housing here is already occupied, and much of what is vacant is either delapidated or older and in need of renovation, she said: More than half of local housing units are more than 40 years old, and nearly 90 percent were built before 2000.


The problem is the worst for people wishing to move into an apartment. Less than 12 percent of the housing in Caldwell County is in multi-family developments.


Annual surveys of major local employers by the EDC have found that an increasing number of new hires live outside Caldwell County: 30 percent in 2015, 34 percent in 2016, and 40 percent in 2017, Murray said.


Those surveys are backed up by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which found in 2014 that about 6,600 people commuted from outside Caldwell to jobs here, and in 2015 that number grew to 8,700.


“This is the reason why we are really pressing and needing this type of growth,” she said.


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