New Study Shows Housing Shortages in Northern Michigan, How it Could Affect Economy

A study by two Northern Michigan housing and economic groups is trying to find a solution to the affordable housing problem.

“We hear so much about the housing shortage and it’s a huge problem, I mean if you talk about any problem in northwest Michigan it ultimately comes back to housing, you can’t have a conversation about anything without talking about housing,” says Sarah Lucas, executive director for Housing North.

TC Lofts in downtown Traverse City offers a wide range of state of the art finishes; but like most of the apartments in Northern Michigan, they’re expensive, and completely full.

“It pulls at your heart strings right because you have to turn down all of these people that are in demand, looking for this housing that want to live in this beautiful area that we have,” says Quinn McDonald, property manager for TC Lofts.

Networks Northwest and Housing North found that in 2020 there will be demand for almost 11,000 new rental units throughout the region, with most looking for rent at 800 dollars per month or less. There will also be a demand for home ownership, with the need for an estimated 4,600 homes, a majority under $200,000.

“I actually just talked to someone today about those numbers and they were saying absolutely those are the right numbers, that’s what I’m looking for and I can’t find it,” says Lucas.

A problem that Lucas says is not just affecting people now but the future of Northern Michigan. “If families aren’t able to live here and work here, we’re not going to have those kids in our schools and that’s going to affect our pipeline for our future workforce,” says Lucas.

The report also says all new construction is not necessarily the answer. Local governments encouraging the remodeling of single family homes into multi-family homes is key.

Click here for the full report.