By REDC Housing Coordinator Sarah Wrightsman
We’ve spoken with businesses of various sizes from across the region about why housing matters to them. In these conversations with employers, what we’ve found is that nearly every story is identical. Employers are struggling to recruit and retain workers, in large part because of the limited supply of housing affordable to members of the workers; employees are commuting long distances to get to work; and businesses are losing good employees to places where the housing is more affordable. If you’re a business owner in New Hampshire, you may be experiencing some of these same challenges.
For both renters and prospective homebuyers, the housing market in New Hampshire has only gotten more challenging over the past two years. The pandemic didn’t cause the housing crisis, but it did accelerate the pace. Affordability, of course, is a concern – the median gross rent in New Hampshire for a two-bedroom unit is $1,498 and the median purchase price is now over $400,000. Even for those who can afford our housing, the lack of inventory is making it nearly impossible to find available housing. The state is short approximately 20,000 units of housing according to New Hampshire Housing. (link: https://www.nhhfa.org/)
For our region’s employers, housing is business but it’s also personal. In our conversations, business leaders tell us they’re worried about their own housing situation, their parent’s long-term housing security, or where their children will live when it’s time to empty the nest. With the extent of today’s housing crisis, everyone has a housing story. Housing affects every single one of us.
When we talk with folks about housing, we’re rarely talking about just the physical structures that provide shelter. Rather, we’re talking about the people who live there – the essential members of the workforce, the small business owners, the healthcare workers, and the entry level employees in manufacturing and banking. We’re talking about schoolteachers, municipal staff, firefighters, police officers, librarians, and postal workers. When the chef at your favorite restaurant or the barista at your regular coffee shop clock out, they need a place to live. Housing is where all these jobs go to sleep at the end of their workday.
Hear real housing stories from employers in the region and share your own housing story at www.seacoastwhc.org/stories. We want to know why housing matters to you!