What We Know About Affordable Housing

 

Out of Reach

Although median income in Connecticut is high at $73,433, rental prices in the state have grown substantially since 2000.  Connecticut rental costs are up 64 percent statewide since 2000 and the housing wage (what a renter must earn per hour to afford a typical 2BR apartment) is up to $24.90 statewide or $51,799 a year, up from $23 in 2010, and is $21 even in rural areas.

In 2016, almost half of Connecticut's 478,000 renters spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing, leaving little for food, clothing, transportation, healthcare and other necessities. Nearly half the 719 occupations in Connecticut -- including machinists, mental health counselors, ambulance drivers, pre-school teachers, corrections officers and other vital jobs --  pay an average wage less than the housing wage.

Young People Are Leaving

Connecticut has lost a greater percentage of its millennial population than all but 11 states (based on the 2016 Census Bureau) since 2010.  These young adults are the "new blood" of our economy -- and they're leaving for other states, in large part because housing is less expensive elsewhere. With higher numbers of young people pursuing higher education, college and the years right after are a decision-point on where to live and establish roots.

The Largest Expense

Housing is usually the largest expense in a family budget, so high housing costs can strain that budget.  That means there is less money available for other needs, such as utilities and other bills, education, health care, transportation or saving for retirement or emergencies. This is frequently a direct cause of homelessness. Studies have found that reducing housing costs not only increases household discretionary income, but it provides a significant boost to local economies (e.g., increased sales, sales tax revenue, jobs, etc.). Click here to learn more!

Job Creation and Economic Development

In a competitive economic climate, high housing costs make Connecticut a less attractive place to do business.  Because of high housing costs, employers in Connecticut have to pay higher salaries to attract and retain employees and have trouble recruiting employees from other states, especially for highly specialized fields. And even though Connecticut's businesses pay a good wage, rent keeps rising faster than those wages: from 2000-2016, household incomes in Connecticut rose 28 percent but rent rose by 64 percent.

Connecticut has consistently ranked near the bottom in housing permits per capita when compared to other states and recently experienced its lowest net housing gain since 2011.  By creating more affordable housing, the state will benefit from the tax revenues generated through sales and income taxes related to housing construction.  In addition, the economy in general will benefit from job creation and increased spending in the local economy, while workers will have access to safe and decent housing that they can afford.

  • Housing creates jobs – Over 1,200 jobs, resulted from the 2,102 new, renovated or preserved units financed by CHFA in 2017.
  • Housing creates economic activity - The Department of Economic and Community Development, in a report on the $57 million invested in the Housing Trust Fund, said it has leveraged $519 million in other resources for housing development, which doesn't take into account the economic multiplier effect. In fact, economic studies support the conclusion that for every dollar spent in housing construction, there is an additional $10-12 in economic activity that ripples throughout the economy.
  • Housing creates new tax revenue - $33,000 in sales and local taxes when a multifamily unit is built, $61,000 when a single-family unit is built, and over $8,000 and $15,000 each year, respectively, once the unit is occupied, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
  • Housing creates the homes we need for our workers, our parents, our children, our young professionals and families.
 

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