Another 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.
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: