Lexington Housing Needs
Overall, the majority of Lexington's population is in the middle-income category, earning over 80% of area median income. Eighteen percent of the Town's population falls into the moderate-, low-, or extremely low-income categories. There is a clear need for more affordable rental opportunities in Lexington; 36% of renters earn less than 80% of median income.
There also is a need for rental opportunities for low-income households. The waiting list for rental vouchers is very long (approximately 200 people).
Of increasing concern to Lexington is the decrease in population of those aged 18 to 24 (decreased by half over the last decade) and in the 25 to 44 age group (decreased by 16% over the last decade). High housing costs are making it difficult for young people to afford a home in Lexington. The vitality of the community depends on providing opportunities for younger families to live in town. At the same time, the population over 65 has increased by 19%. A high percentage of those aged 65 and over live alone and so have an even lower standard of affordability. Members of this age group also often live on fixed incomes. Although in theory many elderly homeowners no longer carry a mortgage, in actuality they are still spending a large percentage of their income on housing costs.
There is a clear need to create affordable rental and ownership opportunities for young families and seniors that fall into the low-income or moderate-income categories.
New housing development is projected to produce a small and declining share of Lexington's housing stock. Therefore emphasis must be placed on how existing housing stock can be modified to achieve more diversity and affordability. Our overall housing strategy should address new starts and modifications but the greatest potential will be in changing the way existing housing is utilized.
Summary of Housing Goals
- Broaden opportunities for producing housing, especially where that production is likely to include housing that is relatively affordable and that is likely to serve other diversity concerns, such as serving younger startup households.
- Protect existing housing that is important for the maintenance of diversity.
- Develop robust sources of funding to support housing affordability.
- Strengthen institutions and administrative systems to facilitate the process of developing the housing that the Town wants without sacrificing attention to other important considerations, such as neighborhood impacts.
Parts extracted from "Lexington Consolidated Housing Strategy and Plan, Fiscal Years 2006 to 2010," prepared for the WestMetro HOME Consortium.