In our September 3, 2020 newsletter we announced that the City was developing a Housing Action Plan (HAP) funded by a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. Since reporting on the HAP, the City and our consultants, LDC Inc., have completed a Housing Needs Assessment and released a Draft HAP for public review and comment.
Analyzing housing is complex since it represents a bundle of services that people are willing or able to pay for, including shelter and proximity to attractions (job, shopping, recreation) access to public services (quality of schools, parks, etc.) and transportation. It is difficult for households to maximize all these services and minimize costs; as a result, households make tradeoffs and sacrifices between needed services and what they can afford.
The results of the housing needs assessment show that around 8,373 additional housing units will be needed in University Place by 2040, as the city’s population is forecasted to grow from 33,000 persons in 2018 to over 48,000 persons by 2040, an increase of 43%. Currently, the city “outperforms” the county in household to housing unit production, meaning there is no aggregate underproduction in the city. However, to keep up with population growth, the city will need to build 419 new household units per year from 2020-2040, as opposed to the 220 new housing units the city has built per year since 2010. Effectively double the current growth rate.
The population forecast for University Place, provided by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), estimated the future housing needs or housing gap between 2020 to 2040. Consequently, if PSRC’s forecast is above actual growth, the estimated number of housing units needed by 2040 should be recalibrated.
University Place households are mostly families without children, and the population is aging. Some national trends are reflected in the inventory or households and housing in University Place. For example, nuclear family households, the predominant type of household shrank from 40% in 1970 to 20% in 2018 while, in contrast, the share of single-person households increased from 15% in 1970 to 28% in 2018. Households with single persons living alone have become the most prevalent household type, which could result in smaller household sizes and increased housing unit demand.
Household sizes in University Place average 2.53 persons per household. The dominant household compositions are families without children (37%) and non-families (34%). It is likely that a growing senior population has contributed to the smaller number of families with children.
For more on the Housing Needs Assessment, see the Draft Housing Action Plan in the document list at www.CityofUP.com/housing-action-plan. Comments and questions are welcome. Send them directly to David Swindale, Director, Planning and Development Services, at DSwindale@CityofUP.com. Look for future surveys on this topic on FlashVote. If you haven’t signed up for FlashVote yet, surveys take less than a minute and signup is easy at flashvote.com/cityofup.