Commerce policy advisor speaks on housing needs in Shelton
Housing availability, housing affordability and the missing middle were the main topics of discussion at the Workforce Housing Summit on Jan. 3 in Mason County.
“There is a portion of the housing inventory that is not being built in the middle continuum that is affordable to folks who are making 80 to 125 percent of the average income levels,” said Emily Grossman, lead policy advisor for the Community Services and Housing Division. “What we are not getting is your medium density housing. Smaller housing units, the two to four units, clustered housing types and other smaller units.”
Grossman kicked-off the event as one of the keynote speakers. The full-day event at Alderbrook Resort included federal, state and local government representatives. Private developers and other community leaders were also on hand to lend their perspective to the discussion.
Mason County’s median sales price for a home is $240,000, 6 percent over last year’s median. Year to year, the prices are going up significantly, Grossman said. She highlighted that median family income in Mason County is $64,600. Median household income, made up of one-person households and unrelated individuals living together, is $25,661 in Mason County.
“When thinking about affordability and the missing middle, consider this individual group in terms of planning and products,” Grossman said. “This group needs a smaller product than the other group.”
U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Vancouver, spoke in a taped message, and Mike Kingsella, executive director of Up for Growth National Coalition, also helped kick-off the event.
State Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union; Mason County Commissioner Kevin Shutty; and Shelton Mayor Bob Rogers joined a panel discussion at lunch to discuss the issues from their perspectives.
Many attendees referred to Grossman’s keynote in sessions throughout the day.
“Your typical first-time homebuyer in Mason County has only 38 percent of what they need to purchase the typical first home here,” she said.
The event was made possible by a grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. The Shelton Mason County Chamber of Commerce, Mason County Economic Development Council, North Mason Chamber of Commerce and Olympia Master Builders also contributed to the event.
More video of the event is available on MasonWebTv.
To view the event presentation slideshows visit the Workforce Housing Summit page.
Grossman also took part in a radio interview with Fiber One News Radio. Fiber One’s “Day Break” will broadcast the interview at a future date.