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Study Data Highlights

Study Data Highlights
Affordable Housing Opportunities Strategy

This summary reflects findings and conclusions for selected highlights only. If not otherwise noted, data is from year 2000 U.S. Census.

REGIONAL GROWTH

  • Population has increased by almost 1/3 in Warren County over the past 30 years, as development grows along the Northway corridor.
  • Nearly ¾ of Warren County’s population growth has been in Queensbury.
  • Queensbury is within the “first ring of influence” of the proposed Luther Forest Technology Park in Saratoga County, directly to the south. The creation of close to 10,000 expected new jobs will accelerate the demand for new housing in the region.
  • By 2010, Queensbury can expect its population to increase to 29,318 – 29,468 persons, with an additional 1,550 – 1,598 new households.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Population and Household Characteristics

The number and percent of persons age 65 and older is expected to increase.

  • The median age of 39.3 in Queensbury is higher than the median age of 35.9 in New York State.

The growth in population underestimates the need for housing.

  • A comparison of growth in households to population shows that in year 2000, population grew by 12% while households grew by 20%.

New rental units will require just 1-2 bedrooms.

  • The majority of renter households (70%) contain just 1-2 persons.
  • Of rental households, almost ¾ (72%) have single parent head of households.
  • Almost half of all renters are single individuals or unrelated persons living together (49.8%).

Some existing housing units may be oversized. There may be a demand for conversion to two-family, and/or a demand for senior rental housing.

  • Among home owners, 55% are in one or two person households.
  • There are fewer children in rental than in owner households; 27% as compared to 37% respectively.
  • More than half of households headed by persons age 34 and under are renters. Home ownership rates then rise until retirement age (age 65 and over).
  • Over ¾ (76%) of all occupied housing units in Queensbury are owner occupied, compared to 24% renter occupied.
  • The average household size in Queensbury is 2.52 persons.

It is difficult for renter households that are “cost burdened” to save funds to enable home purchase. Data shows a need for rental subsidies.

  • More than half of all rental households (64%) with incomes less than $35,000 pay more than 30% of their income on housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers these households “cost burdened.”
  • The high rate of home owners who are “cost burdened” indicate the need to continue and expand the Town’s home improvement program. Mortgage payments take precedence over home repairs.
  • Although higher income groups are more likely to be home owners, the majority of households with incomes $35,000 or less own homes (1,980 persons own as compared to 1,442 renting).
  • Slightly over half of all owner occupied households (52%) with incomes less than $35,000 spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Housing Characteristics

The majority of housing in Queensbury is single family residential.

  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of housing structures in Queensbury are single family detached houses (8,169 single family as compared to 11,210 total housing units).
  • Mobile homes comprise just 6% of all housing in Queensbury (685 of 11,210 total housing units).
  • Duplexes account for a little less than 3% of Queensbury’s housing (315 of 11,210 total housing units).
  • Multi-family housing consisting of 3-19 units represent 10% of all housing, while housing consisting of 20 or greater units accounts for 5% of all housing (1,612 of 11,210 housing units).

Employment and Wages

There are opportunities for economic development in the area.

  • Queensbury residents live close to their employment. The majority of Queensbury residents, 80%, travel less than 30 minutes to get to work, with 4% of that number working from home.
  • More than two-thirds of Queensbury’s residents work in Warren County.
  • Of the top ten employers in Warren County, all but one (The Sagamore) are located in Glens Falls or Queensbury. (Warren County Economic Development Corporation, 2000)
  • Glens Falls Hospital is the largest employer, and accounts for 40% of the employment for the 8 employers that have year round employees. (Warren County Economic Development Corporation, 2000)
  • Of the top ten employers in Warren County, two seasonal employers (The Sagamore and The Great Escape) account for almost one-quarter (23%) of all employees. (Warren County Economic Development Corporation, 2000)
  • Of the 11 vacant industrial sites in Warren County, 5 are in Queensbury, and contain 65% of available land. (Warren County Economic Development Corporation, 2000)

Wage rates in Warren County are lower than the annual median income for a 3 person household of $44,000 (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 2003, Glens Falls MSA)

  • In Warren County, the highest average annual wage was $39,403 for those persons employed in Finance, Information, Insurance and Professional employment sectors. (New York State Department of Labor, 2002)

Persons employed in services, make an average annual wage less than half of the $44,000 median.

  • Persons employed in Retail, Accommodations and Food Service, and Administrative Services, provide an average annual wage less than half of the $44,000 median (ranging from $15,423 to $21,154). (New York State Department of Labor, 2002)
  • Service jobs account for more than 1/3 (39%) of all private sector jobs in Warren County. (New York State Department of Labor, 2002)

Housing Values and Costs for Single family Residences

Queensbury is in a “high cost” area.

  • The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation in 2002 identified Warren County as a high cost area. Their assessment identifies the gap between income and the cost of housing. Counties with an average single family home sales price greater than 2.2 times the area median income are considered high cost areas. Warren County has the 11th highest cost in New York State, and the highest cost north of New York City Burroughs and surrounding counties of Westchester, Putnam and Rockland.

Queensbury is experiencing a strong real estate market.

  • Vacant homes for sale or rent consist of 3% of the housing stock, representing a strong housing market (i.e. less than 5% vacant for sale or rent).
  • Queensbury has the strongest housing market in Warren County: more than half of single family homes sold were in Queensbury (January – June 2003) (Warren County Association of Realtors)

Much of Queensbury’s housing stock are single family residences that are increasing in value more rapidly than surrounding areas.

  • The median sale price for single family homes sold from January through June 2003 was $149,800 for Queensbury. (Warren County Association of Realtors)
  • According to the New York State Association of Realtors, during the period of July 2001 to July 2003, the median sales price of a single family home in Warren County increased 36%, from $103,000 to $140,000. This increase is higher than that of Washington and Saratoga Counties during the same time period (28% and 29% respectively).

The cost of new construction for a single family home is significantly higher than the cost of an existing home in Queensbury.

  • Town of Queensbury building permit data shows that the cost of a new home (including land value) is $223,500.

The average cost of a single family home in Queensbury is not affordable to single wage earner households in Queensbury, and in some instances, is not affordable to dual wage earners.

  • Using the 2003 median income information noted above, the maximum a house would need to sell for would be $109,200.
  • After considering typical local costs for principal, interest*, taxes, and insurance, a household income of $88,000 is needed to afford a new home, and a household income of $57,484 would be needed to afford an existing sales priced home in Queensbury. [*Note: A higher than current rate of 7.5% is used since it reflects the annual average over the past 10 years for 30 year mortgages as calculated by Freddie Mac. A 5% down payment is used.]

Rental Costs and Construction

The structure of the rental market in Queensbury has changed since the 2000 U.S. Census.

  • Almost half (44%) of the new multi-family rental units built or approved are for seniors (242 of 556 housing units).

The pace of new construction for multi-family rental housing has increased since the 2000 U.S. Census.

  • Four new complexes have been constructed: The Landing, Hunterbrook, Meadowbrook, and The Cedars, containing a total of 232 housing units.
  • Under construction is the Highland Springs development with 100 units. Approvals were obtained for Northbrook with 128 units, and Queensbury Partners with 96 units.
  • Based on Town permit applications, it is anticipated that 556 new rental housing units will be constructed by the end of 2004. This is more than the total number of rental housing units built during the 1990’s (479) or during the 1980’s (373). (NOTE: The 2000 U.S. Census data used for comparison includes all types of rental housing structures; multi-family, single family, duplexes, etc. Town data is for multi-family complexes only.)

Since the year 2000, the private housing market has responded to the need for government subsidized senior housing.

  • The Cedars, containing 62 units built, and Queensbury Partners, approved for 96 units, are designated as government subsidized senior housing. A proportion of these units must be devoted to seniors with incomes below 60% of the median income. Thus, a single senior with an income of $20,520 per year or less would be eligible for a housing unit in the development.

Since the year 2000, the private housing market has responded to the need for affordable, unsubsidized rental housing.

  • A rental survey of the major unsubsidized housing complexes (833 units in seven developments) reveals that the majority of Section 8 housing vouchers are used outside of these apartments. (Shelter Planning & Development, Inc., 2003)

· The same rental survey indicates that these housing complexes are affordable to households with median incomes to approximately 80% of the median. Average rents with utilities are $643 for a one bedroom unit, and $737 for a two bedroom unit.

DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS

2000 U.S. Census Indicators

Multi-family development is focused closer to areas with municipal sewer and water.

  • Multi-family development is most heavily concentrated in just two Census block areas in the Town (707-1 and 707-2). See Appendix C map.

South Queensbury and West Glens Falls areas within the Town of Queensbury may be eligible for grant awards for various types of housing assistance, such as for home improvements

  • South Queensbury (Census Area 706-2) has a lower median household income than the remainder of the Town. Data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that more than half of the households have incomes below 80% of the median.
  • Only West Glens Falls (Census Tract 708) and South Queensbury (Census Area 706-2) have the majority of owner occupied housing valued at less than $75,000 in the year 2000.

Zoning and Infrastructure

The number of large parcels suitable for more affordable housing development is limited.

  • An analysis of developable land with existing municipal sewer and/or water shows that there are currently 183 parcels comprising a total of 2,585 acres. Just 48 of these parcels have both sewer and water infrastructure available. (NOTE: There are certain parameters to define “developable” and these are delineated using N. Y. State Office of Real Property Services (ORPS) codes. The minimum size parcel considered is 10 acres.)

The number of parcels that allow smaller lot sizes, and thus decreased land costs, is limited.

  • Zoning districts that permit housing to be built on lots of 20,000 sq. ft. or less are potential targets for affordable housing. Of the seven (7) zoning districts that could accommodate these size lots, there are just 11 vacant parcels that have access to municipal water and/or sewer. This zoning would permit 163 housing units. This number does not account for environmental constraints such as wetlands, streams, bedrock or other conditions.

Zoning tools

  • Zoning tools that can be utilized to facilitate more affordable housing, by decreasing road and utility, and in some instances land and permitting costs, are cluster development, Planned Unit Development (PUD), and rezonings.
  • A search of vacant parcels in the Town shows that there are a significant number of smaller parcels on scattered sites that may be suitable for single family residential development. This is referred to as “in-fill” development, and could increase the affordable housing stock in a less intensive manner.