Housing Demand

Evolving Housing Needs

What kinds of communities and housing do residents need now & into the future?

Recent studies by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Urban Land Institute, and other organizations across the country are pointing towards increasing preferences for walkable, complete communities where daily needs are within close proximity to homes and jobs. NAR’s 2013 Community Preference Survey points out that “Americans prefer walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and shorter commutes.” More than 60 percent of respondents “favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses that are easy to walk to, rather than neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation.”

Housing Type Preferences by Age


Source: National Association of Realtors (2011)

These trends and changing preferences raise important questions about the vitality and competitiveness of our region and communities over the coming decades. What types of places will attract the skilled labor forces our businesses require? Are today’s land use plans and development regulations aligned with the goal of attracting residents and businesses, helping communities to remain competitive and improve their tax bases? Are private developers able to respond to these emerging market trends? A recent study of regional housing demand commissioned by the Urban Land Institute provides a look at the housing demand profile of our changing population. It lays out a shrinking demand for larger-lot single family homes (those on lots greater than 7,200 square feet), and an increasing demand for well-located smaller-lot detached homes, attached/townhome products, and multifamily housing. With more than 330,000 larger-lot homes on the ground now, demand is for an additional 140,000 smaller lot detached single family homes, and 166,000 attached units. Through 2050, this represents a broader choice in housing products, with just over 60% of homes on single family detached lots in 2050 (compared to 67% in 2010) and just under 40% in townhomes and multifamily products. The insight2050 scenarios are designed in part to test the impacts of meeting this projected demand, compared to maintaining a trend-based housing profile, or building out the housing profile of the local jurisdictions’ current plans and policies.

Columbus MSA Housing Needs by Home Type 2010-2050


*Refers to households added from 2010-2050, excluding households that existed prior to 2010. Source: Arthur C. Nelson, COLUMBUS, OHIO Metropolitan Area trends, Preferences, and opportunities: 2010 to 2030 and to 2040 (NRDC)