talking business with becky bradley: unraveling housing supply and attainability critical to the region's success

January 2023, Becky Bradley, Executive Director

There are few emotions that match the feeling of fulfilment of owning your first home. I struggle to find words strong enough to describe the sense of accomplishment my husband Josh and I felt as we moved literally a few feet over the Lynn Township line into Heidleberg in 2005. We could stay in the area where my husband grew up even if it was really more than we could afford at the time and needed family help to buy land where we could build.

My husband and his father built our home so we saved a lot of money by doing much of the work ourselves. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of family and their homebuilding talent.

That was nearly 18 years ago, and things have only gotten harder for young adults and families. The region’s housing issues have morphed into problem, affecting all six generations alive today, including our babies and our seniors. Housing is a universal requirement at every stage of life, so where we know we have issues we need to unravel them and right now it’s critical to the success of our region.

LVPC’s Oscavich is Named to 2022 Lehigh Valley Forty Under 40 List

July 2022, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

LVPC, Urban Land Institute To Tackle Housing Attainability in 2023

January 2023, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

Developers in 2022 tried to close a Lehigh Valleywide housing shortage by proposing the most units in 16 years, but rising population and interest rates made it more difficult for people to find homes that fit their incomes.

An LVPC analysis shows that even as the housing market cools, skyrocketing interest rates and increasing home values are pricing many out of the market. Consider that the median household income in the Lehigh Valley is $74,158.  A family with that income can afford a home with the maximum price of $175,950, according to the federal benchmark defining that a family is cost-burdened if it pays more than 30% of their income on housing.

But just try and find one of those on the market. According to Justin Porembo, CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, of the roughly 500 homes list for sale in December, just 58 were $176,000 or lower. That means that a typical Lehigh Valley household, with an income smack in the middle of the spectrum, can only afford a home in the bottom 12% of the market, with the remaining half of the Lehigh Valley’s households earning below the median income in an even worse position.

LVPC’s Oscavich is Named to 2022 Lehigh Valley Forty Under 40 List

July 2022, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

LVPC Extends Board Officers

December 2022, Matt Assad, Managing Editor

The LVPC’s most recent Plan Lehigh Valley radio show aired January 2 on WDIY FM 88.1, and it focused on the state of our evolving housing market. Guests on the show were LVPC Senior Planner Jill Seitz and Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors CEO Justin Porembo, who talked about how despite a market cooling, the region still suffers from a housing shortage, and that existing attainability problems have grown because of rising interest rates. That show is now streaming at wdiy.org.

The LVPC’s next Plan Lehigh Valley show will take a look at the latest population and employment forecasts, with guest LVPC Data Scientist David Jan. That show is scheduled to air at 6:30 pm, February 6.

The LVPC is partnering with WDIY Radio on the monthly talk show focused on planning in the region, showcasing FutureLV: The Regional Plan and other work being done by the Commission and partners such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority.

pLAN LEHIGH VALLEY: Assessing the Local Housing Market

Becky Bradley, Matt Assad, Greg Capogna, Justin Porembo and Jill Seitz | WDIY 88.1

December 2022

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