Expert talks to local stakeholders addressing Pennington County's housing industry

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A housing expert addressed growth and population patterns to local stakeholders to better understand the housing crisis in Pennington County.

Rolf Pendall, the director of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C., is a housing expert who researches housing policies and programs as well as land-use planning and metropolitan growth. He found that over half of Pennington County's housing stock is now at least 30 years old while only about 7 percent of the stock is less than 10 years old.

Pendall also stated that more people, including seniors, are renting homes instead of purchasing.

"There's still a desire to own, but a couple of things are happening,” Pendall said. “It's taking people longer to launch into the workforce, longer to get married and longer to have kids. So they're going to spend more time renting, naturally, because it's really having kids - especially when your kids get into elementary school - That's kind of the spur for most families to say, 'I want to buy a house now,' because they want to be in the same place."

Pendall also said that because people are continuing to rent homes - there needs to be new forms of access to home ownership.

One solution that communities across the nation are considering is a model called the Community Land-Trust. In the model, homes are built and purchased on land owned by a non-profit organization, bringing the initial home price down. That allows owners to save money before moving onto a property that isn't supported in that capacity.

Pendall is now headed to Denver to hold another presentation.

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