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Why Montgomery County Needs 20,000 More Rental Units

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Earlier this week, the Montgomery County Planning Department presented some of the preliminary findings of a study regarding the county’s rental market. One of the most stark revelations uncovered by the study is that the county is short by about 20,000 rental units for households earning less than 30 percent of area median income (AMI).

“As a result [of this shortage], 80 percent of households earning less than 30 percent of area median income are cost burdened,” the study stated. “Of all renter households in the county, about 50 percent are cost burdened.”

The study also revealed that the county has an aging supply of apartments for rent, with 55 percent of rentals constructed before 1980 compared to only 14 percent of rentals having been built after 2000. However, the large share of older units helps keep those rentals relatively affordable for households that earn at least 50 percent AMI.

Overall, rentals comprise 30 percent of the county’s housing units and tend to be concentrated near employment centers and Metro stations. One promising facet of the rental supply (at least in contrast to the District) is that 39 percent of the county’s rentals have three or more bedrooms.

The Rental Housing Market Study was commissioned two years ago by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs to examine whether the county is meeting the rental housing demand for all of its residents.

During this phase, consultant RKG Associates gave the county’s Planning Department an overview of the data in preparation to furnish recommendations going forward. The final study should be completed and released in early 2017.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/measuring_moco_rental_housing_mkt/11942

1 Comment

  1. Michael Bufalini said at 11:00 pm on Monday December 5, 2016:

    The referenced study, which is located at http://bit.ly/2h12NK2, uses data from 2010-2014.  Many thousands of apartments in the county have been built since then, and though the quantity may have addressed the shortfall of apartments for high-income renters (also shown in the chart above), it probably has not addressed the 30% AMI shortfall.  The other thing to note in this chart is that even in 2010-2014 there was an overall surplus of apartments, before the significant amount of building in the last couple of years.

    The challenge at the 30% AMI rent level is to find subsidies or very low cost areas (both of which are difficult to find).  Current County regulations offer incentives if 30% of units are affordable, but that does not help if there is a surplus of apartments.  This shortfall of low-cost rentals requires more financial commitment from the County.

Comments are closed.

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