Huntington housing survey shows gaps in home ownership as new businesses move in

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — There is an “evolving” housing market in the Huntington area, according to a new survey.

Cathy Burns

The Huntington Area Housing Needs Assessment released Wednesday showed 40 percent of local employers have difficulty attracting or retaining employees due to housing issues. About 70 percent of those surveyed would hire more workers if local housing issues were resolved.

“We recognize that there is a gap in all ranges of housing both rental, owner occupied and all affordability levels,” Cathy Burns, executive director of the Huntington Municipal Development Authority, told MetroNews after presenting the findings at the Marshall Health Network Arena.

The study was conducted in Oct. 2023 by the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce and City of Huntington in an effort to encourage more development in the housing market as new companies move to West Virginia including nearby Nucor Steel in Mason County.

“We know that there are projected to be new jobs in the region over the next five years and with new jobs come new housing demands,” Burns said.

Burns said sometimes potential buyers fear it’s unrealistic to own a home in today’s market because of high prices and low income. She said many homes in the Huntington area are older and need to be fixed up.

“Most of the housing in West Virginia, and Huntington is no different, is 50 years or older, so the disconnect is when you have people moving here to your community with Nucor, Cyber Security at Marshall and other job announcements, we know that there is a disconnect with the quality and type of housing,” she said.

Burns said building newer homes will attract more buyers.

“It’s a supply and demand issue. The more supply we provide, then hopefully those numbers start equaling out a little bit more and property becomes a little more affordable,” she said.

Burns said they hope to provide government officials, area stakeholders, developers and area employers with a better understanding of the evolving housing market, establish housing priorities, modify or expand housing policies, and enhance and expand the housing market to meet current and future housing needs.

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