September 24, 2020
Ad Top Header

Falling Behind - Addressing Wisconsin’s workforce housing shortage



Workforce housing is the supply of housing in a community (a variety of housing types, sizes, locations and prices) that meets the needs of the workforce in that community. Specifically, in this report, workforce housing is housing that is “affordable” for renting families earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median income and for owning families earning up to 120 percent of the area’s median income.

Wisconsin has a workforce housing shortage. While the Wisconsin economy has returned to growth since the end of the Great Recession, our housing stock is falling behind. We are not building enough housing to keep up with demand for our growing workforce. Our existing housing stock is aging, and construction prices and housing costs are rising faster than inflation and incomes. This state has seen declining homeownership, particularly among younger families, first-time homebuyers, and African American and Hispanic families. Housing costs and rents are rising faster than incomes, too. Compared to our neighboring states, we have the highest rate of extreme rental cost burden for lower-income families and the second highest rate of extreme cost burden for lower-income homeowners.

The purpose of this report is to document the significant workforce housing shortage in Wisconsin, and to explain the main causes (lack of supply, rising construction costs and outdated regulations) and main results (rising prices, decreasing homeownership and decreased affordability).

This report also outlines a roadmap to reform to meet our workforce housing challenges. Reforms and policies are focused on five key goals: building more housing, increasing housing choice through a diverse housing stock, rebuilding and strengthening homeownership, reinvesting in older housing and older neighborhoods, and making housing a priority. These reforms and policies can help Wisconsin address our workforce housing shortage; modernize our housing system; and ensure a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable future for all our residents.



Last modified on Friday, 27 March 2020 01:25
© Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. 2020