Shortage of affordable housing in Virginia, study finds

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) If you're house hunting, you know it's sometimes a struggle to find the right price.

Researchers at Virginia Tech are backing up claims that there aren't enough affordable housing options in Virginia. In fact they found a shortage of housing and agree, in order to support a growing workforce new affordable housing must be available.

They say every corner of Virginia, and every type of neighborhood, is impacted by high priced housing.

Researchers found one in three households is cost burdened, which means they're spending more than 30 percent of their income for housing.

"We really need to focus on getting housing units that are affordable to folks all along the income ladder," said Mel Jones, a research scientist at Virginia Tech.

Finding a home that fits in your budget isn't just a problem for people in San Francisco, or New York City, it impacts people here at home, according to the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech.

The review, authorized by a state council, helps develop a state housing policy.

Estimates show more than 357,000 jobs could be added to the Virginia workforce over the next 10 years if there is affordable housing for those employees.

"If we don't provide that housing folks will look to other states for their jobs and a better cost of living and higher quality of life," Jones said.

Research found Virginia needs 225,000 more housing units for all income ranges in order to attract those workers.

In our region, they discovered people have decent access to home ownership opportunities, but there are still housing affordability challenges.

"Especially in places like Blacksburg that have an extremely tight housing market. For example some Tech employees can't afford to live in Blacksburg because of the high housing costs," Jones said.

Those researchers found when families don't experience those expensive housing challenges anymore they start investing in their children's education.

The team presented their finding to Virginia Lawmakers at the Virginia Housing Commission last week.