Northern Shenandoah Regional Leaders Learn about Housing Trends

Leaders from across the Northern Shenandoah region attended a “Housing Trends and Data” workshop on April 11th to learn about the latest housing trends affecting the region. The Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission sponsored the half-day workshop that brought together speakers from Housing Virginia, VHDA and the Virginia Center for Housing Research who outlined some of the significant changes in housing and the economy for the region. Twenty public and private leaders representing a cross section of organizations that address the housing needs in the region attended the workshop.
Tyler Klein, Community Development Planner for the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, gave a presentation on the housing conditions throughout the region.  Frances Stanley, Research/Policy Analyst for VHDA, provided a statewide and “Northern Tier” of Virginia perspective of recent housing trends particularly related to the housing preferences of first-time home purchasers. Neal Barber, staff to Housing Virginia, provided an analysis of housing affordability trends for the regional localities taken from SOURCEBOOK.  Derek Perry with the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech provided an overview of the data on housing programs contained in Housing Virginia’s recently launched PLAYBOOK.
Some of the key regional housing trends identified included:

  • Sales prices declined between 40% and 50% from the market peak in 2007 to the low in 2011. Sales prices have since rebounded to  65% – 75% of the peak.
  • Over the past 6 years household incomes have remained flat rising only 1.5% per year before inflation.
  • Renter household incomes are between 45% and 50% of incomes of owners.
  • Residential building permits have declined by 67% since 2007 with a slight rebound in 2012.
  • Overall with the deep decline of home prices between 2007 and 2011 and the historic low interest rates, housing has gotten more affordable over the past six years. With the rebound of housing prices in 2012 housing has gotten slightly less affordable than it was in 2011.
  • Rental housing continues to increase in cost with rents increasing while renter incomes have remained flat or declined. It is now more affordable to buy the median priced home in four of the six regional localities than it is to rent the median priced rental unit.
  • There is now a need for approximately 10,000 assisted rental units in the region. There are only 2800 assisted rental units in the region and these are fully occupied.
  • The number and percentage of households that are paying more than 30% of their household income on housing peaked in 2009 and has declined since then due to homeowners refinancing at lower rates.


The average worker commutes 69 minutes to work and spends about $300 per month  on commuting. This is about 6% of household income  which is 50% above the national standard.