Massachusetts Watershed Coalition


Housing Needs in the Wachusett Region

E-mail Print PDF

grnprnt_housingAnother major goal of the Greenprint is to increase the housing options available to Wachusetts residents while preserving the region's rural character.

Evaluation of Current Housing and Population

  • The rate of population growth between 1980 and 2005 was greater than 21% in each of the nine Wachusett communities.
  • Significant housing growth has resulted in the region in the last twenty years.
  • Housing in Wachusett towns primarily consists of owner-occupied, single-family homes.
  • While data shows housing is affordable for most Wachusett residents, lower income households can be burdened by their housing costs.








The chart below shows households burdened by housing costs, based on 2000 U.S Census data.


As home values rise, so too will the percentage of households burdened by housing costs. Home values in the Wachusett region rose an average of 81% from 1999-2006.

  • Chapter 40B of Massachusetts state law requires towns to increase long-term affordable housing to 10 percent of their total housing units. Each of the Wachusett communities is below this target, as illustrated in the table below.
grnprnt_40bcompliance grnprnt_img1 


Photo credit:
Leominster Housing Authority


Potential Future Housing Demand

  • The population of the Wachusett region is estimated to increase by roughly 9,250 residents (9%) between 2005 and 2015.
  • Assuming the average household declines to 2.6 persons per household; new residents would require 3,560 more housing units - most of which will be from the construction of single family homes.
  • Given current zoning and development practices, 4, 250 additional acres of land will be needed to meet these housing needs. This development will be distributed among the Wachusett communities as illustrated:



Important housing issues affecting all Wachusett communities include:
  • The need for more rental housing. On average, rental units are about one-eight of local housing, except in Leominster. There were few rental units available according to the 2000 U.S. Census data, which suggests there are limited options for people who rent their housing. Municipal plans for all Wachusett communities stress the creation of additional rental units to meet local housing needs.
  • The need for affordable housing options. The 2000 Census data indicate that half of all low-income households, a third of all moderate-income households, and a fifth of middle-income households have burdensome housing costs. Since a large proportion of senior households (ages 65 and over) have lower incomes, local housing initiatives that create more affordable units will benefit the region's rapidly increasing population of senior residents.
  • The need to balance home building with open space & natural resource protection
  • Single-family homes on large lots in the outlying parts of the community can impact working lands, water supplies and wildlife habitats. Another concern with sprawling development is the impact on town finances. Municipal services in remote areas can be more costly than village areas, due to the lower housing density and greater distances involved in the delivery of services.

Join Email List

Member Login

NEW MEMBERS — when you create an account, an email is sent to your address with a link. Clicking the link activates your member account. You can then return to the site, login, and register for conferences or other current events.
You are here: Home About Us What We Do Greenprint Watershed Management • Housing

This site is proudly sponsored by:      HeronGrace Nonprofit Solutions - Web Site Design - Funraising Consulting