Here’s another reason for the housing crunch we wrote about yesterday: Rapid population growth. Really rapid.
The state’s population is booming. Washington ranks fifth for states that added the most new residents in the past year.
So where are these people coming from? China, India and Mexico are few top spots. Nearly 30 percent of the state’s recent population growth is from immigration. In the Seattle area, it’s even higher.
Washington’s been a top state for growth in recent years. But this year we edged out North Carolina and Arizona to claim the no. 5 spot.
The state’s relatively strong economy will continue to lure new residents, all of whom will need somewhere to live. A Washington Research Council post by Emily Makings suggests many of them will, at least initially, be renters. Noting the surge in Seattle construction activity, the WRC writes,
These additional residential units will help to increase affordability in Seattle. (As we’ve written, “If the affordability problem is to be solved, the increase in demand must be met by an increase in supply.”) Interestingly, though, almost all the new residential units that will be completed in 2016 and 2017 are apartments. Of 2,404 units that will be completed this year, 168 are condominiums. Of 6,257 units to be completed in 2017, only 123 are condominiums (the DSA provided this breakout for me).
In addition to addressing population growth, state and local government here and around the nation will also need to consider the changing demographics. Stateline has been examining some of the issues in a recent series: Going Gray: How Aging Baby Boomers will Challenge Suburbia. It’s a good read.