UVLS Regional Housing Needs – methodology

I sent the following information for consideration at the 13 June 2024 Planning Board meeting:

To the Planning Board,

As requested at our last meeting, I reviewed the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) from 2023. The full report is at [1]

The RHNA is a careful study of the housing needs for the region – towns in NH running from Piermont in the north down to Charleston and Washington in the south, and from the Connecticut River east to Dorchester, Grafton, and New London. See the map on page 6 of the RHNA.

The Fair Share report [2] is a readable summary of the methods used. The authors used two separate components to project housing needs.

  1. Projected Population: This uses the 2020 Census figures with the “natural growth” of the population. It also includes a factor in the early years to bring vacancy rates to 5% for rental units, and 2% for ownership units. This latter factor is designed to increase vacancy rates to a healthy level. (Currently many towns, and likely Lyme, see vacancy rates well below 1%, which means that housing prices are being driven up by scarcity.)
  2. Projected Employment: The report allocates housing growth both by population and by state-wide “Labor Market Areas”. Concord/Manchester receive a large fraction of the expected employment growth, Hanover/Lebanon are allocated a lower share because of fewer major employers, and small towns like Lyme get an even smaller share.

Lyme’s Housing Needs

Appendix E & F [3] of that report state that Lyme needs the following new housing units in the future years. These figures are approximate, but show the magnitude that’s required to serve the expected population of the town.

  • by 2025 – 52 new homes (increase of 52 new homes from 2020 to 2025)
  • by 2030 – 98 new homes (increase of 46 new homes from 2025 to 2030)
  • by 2035 – 128 new homes (increase of 30 new homes from 2030 to 2035)
  • by 2040 – 145 new homes (increase of 17 new homes from 2035 to 2040)

What about the “Keys to the Valley” report? That group produced an earlier report, based on 2010 Census information and 2016 American Community Survey update. Some of its data is now incorrect. The 2023 UVLS RHNA report uses newer data, and should be the basis for our analysis.

I asked Olivia Uyizeye from UVLSRPC to review an earlier draft of this note and I incorporated her suggestions. She offered to provide someone from the RPC to be a resource to this discussion if it would be helpful.

I look forward to our meeting this Thursday night. Thanks.

Rich Brown

[1] Full UVLS RHNA 2023 report: https://www.uvlsrpc.org/project/Regional_Housing_Needs_Assessment_2022_175/
[2] Fair Share Housing Model: https://www.uvlsrpc.org/files/6316/9420/6178/New_Hampshire_Fair_Share_Modeling_report_FINAL.pdf
[3] Appendix E&F: https://www.uvlsrpc.org/files/8516/8053/2893/UVLS_RHNA_AppE-F.pdf