CDPS conducts a regular survey of Seventh District professionals involved in community development and related fields and this blog briefly summarizes comments from two questions in the latest survey. The first question asked respondents about the supply and quality of the rental housing in their communities; the second question focused on the challenges and opportunities to sustained growth and revitalization in their communities.
1) Chicago metro respondents reported a shortage of affordable, high quality rental housing in the region. Additionally, there has been a shift in the type of rental housing since there are now a large number of single-family houses for rent. This shift means the supply and quality of rental housing can vary greatly by neighborhood and even by block. Contacts in Iowa noted that the supply of rental housing has been growing and will continue to grow owing to new construction underway and planned. With the rental market making a strong comeback, landlords have more pricing power. In Wisconsin one respondent pointed out that there are still many vacant homes in distressed neighborhoods that are not in condition to rent.
2) Most contacts focused on the challenges that their communities faced including access to capital, especially for the low- and moderate-income populations. Also, jobs came up in many responses but in varying ways including: the lack of entry level jobs, high rate of underemployed, the limited skill set of the unemployed and low wage growth for the working population. Additionally, getting to and from a job is difficult with parts of the population that need public transit not able to access it easily; credit issues prevent others from financing automobiles. However, one contact from Iowa highlighted that there are job opportunities in the state because the manufacturing industry is expanding.