This week on #LocalGovMatters, Gwyn is joined by Neil Stechschulte, Director of Economic Development for the City of sun Prairie, and Abby Attoun-Tucker, the Director of Community Development for the City of Middleton. Gwyn, Neil and Abby start off the podcast talking about why housing is an important part of the community and how cities include housing in their development plans. Abby and Neil both highlight the need for affordable housing and the need for employers in their communities to have affordable housing for their employees which is close and accessible.
Both Middleton and Sun Prairie have seen significant growth in their communities lately, and both communities are looking at creative and affordable ways to add additional housing in their communities. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the vacancy rate is a ratio of available units and total units and impacts the housing market conditions and rent prices. While HUD says each housing market has its own balanced vacancy rate, Abby says the ideal rate for the area is about 5%. According to MG&E, the vacancy rate for the first quarter of 2019 in Middleton is 1.52%. That means there is very little available and the prices are being driven up by need for more units.
Both Neil and Abby discussed the impact the housing market is having on the ability of their communities to attract new businesses. Both highlighted the need for communities to have proper transportation available. Both discussed the importance of a community being where people wanted to live because if the community it not where people want to live it is harder to get them to move there to work, making it harder for businesses to locate or expand in that area.