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Nez Perce County Comprehensive Plan

SECTION 5

Housing

PURPOSE OF THE HOUSING ELEMENT

The housing element of the Nez Perce County Comprehensive Plan specifically considers the type and condition of the existing housing stock. It is intended to promote a variety of residential densities and housing types, and encourage the enhancement and preservation of existing housing stock throughout the community.

The county does not directly provide housing to its citizenry. The county provides the building environment by describing through development regulations (zoning, subdivision, and building codes) how the construction of housing and other types of land development will take place. The Housing Element of the comprehensive plan specifically considers the conditions of the existing housing stock; the cause, scope, and nature of any housing problems; and the provision of a variety of housing types to match the lifestyle and economic needs of the county.

Historically, natural resource and agricultural industries have supported Nez Perce County. According to the Idaho Department of Commerce these industries have seen declines in employment. Retail trade and service industries are on the rise; however, these industries have not been able to offer the same wages as the natural resource industry. The changing economy is impacting local workers. A major impact to the region is the increase in the number of retirees moving into the area. Many of these households are "equity refugees", persons arriving with large amounts of equity from the sale of a home in another state or another part of Idaho. These households then purchase homes in the region and use the remaining funds from their home sale as retirement income. This impacts the housing market through increased home prices.

INVENTORY

Characteristics of Housing Stock:

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, Nez Perce County's housing characteristics are listed in Table 5-1.

Click for Table 5-1
(Housing Characteristics)

Housing Characteristics

The United States Census defines a household as one (1) or more persons occupying a housing unit. Housing units are defined as occupied or vacant houses, apartments, or single rooms intended as separate living quarters. According to the 1990 US Census, Nez Perce County had an average of 2.57 persons in each owner-occupied housing unit and 2.17 persons in each renter-occupied housing unit. Six hundred seven (607) people lived in group quarters, such as institutions, jails, detention centers, convalescent hospitals, etc.

Age of Housing Stock:

Table 5-2 and Figure 5-1 present the number of units of housing stock built before and after 1980. The table and figure are not intended to portray all homes built before 1980 as inadequate; rather, they present a portrait of the number of older versus newer homes for consideration.

Click for Table 5-2
(Age of Housing Stock ....)
Age of Housing Stock

The oldest housing stock in the state is located in this North Central region of Idaho. Owned units average 28 years of age, while rental units average 40 years of age. The latter figure suggests a lack of new multi-family construction. The rental units tend to be older single-family homes that would not command high prices if sold to would-be owners.

Approximately, 85 percent of the housing stock in Nez Perce County was constructed prior to 1980.

Click for Figure 5-1
(Age of Housing Stock ....)

Age of Housing Stock

Owner-Occupied and Renter-Occupied Dwelling Units:

Sixty-six percent (66%) of occupied dwelling units in 1990 were owner occupied. Renter occupied units have only increased by 426 units since 1980.

Vacancy Rates:

The 1990 U.S. Census reported that 5.8% (845 units) of the total housing stock was vacant. This figure includes 141 units held for occasional, recreational, or seasonal use. This is a healthy overall rate--indicating that the county has a good housing supply. Breaking this figure down into housing types reveals that the owner vacancy rate was 1.3% and the rental vacancy rate was 4.6% in 1990.

Type of Dwelling Units:

The number of housing units within the planning area was 14,463 according to the 1990 U.S. Census data. Approximately 70% of the county's housing stock (10,102 units) is in single-family dwellings. Approximately 18% (2,638 units) is in multi-family structures with 2 to 10 units per structure. Mobile homes, trailers, etc. account for 12% (1,723).

Housing Affordability:

Affordability is a difficult housing variable to measure. The federal government considers a unit "affordable" if the household living in that unit is paying no more than 30% of the total household income towards housing. This definition does not consider household preference. Some households are willing to bear a higher cost burden if in exchange they receive more space; other households must bear costs in excess of 30% of their incomes out of necessity, not choice.

Seven hundred fifty-eight (758) households in Nez Perce County were paying greater than 30% of their total household income for housing costs according to the 1990 U.S. Census. This represents 5.5% of the total households. The median housing value increased by 25% from $45,400 to $56,700 between 1980 and 1990. Median rent increased by 48% from $168/mo. to $249/mo. between 1980 and 1990.

FUTURE NEEDS ANALYSIS

The Idaho Housing Agency (1995), reports that between the years 1995 and 2000, the State of Idaho is expected to gain 14,613 new families with children and 21,963 non-elderly families without children. Families with annual incomes in the $10,000 to $30,000 category are expected to make up a majority of this demand.

Land for new housing is available in Nez Perce County. Unfortunately, parcels with a full range of zoning densities are not available. Zoning should be reviewed to see that it provides opportunities for a choice in housing types (multi-family, rental , retirement, etc.). The Land Use Map (Figure Map-2) identifies residential areas to meet growth demand. Existing zoning and subdivision ordinances will require updating to be in compliance with the housing goals and policies of this plan and the future land use map. Please refer to the "Land Use" chapter for an analysis of land use categories.

HOUSING GOAL AND POLICIES

Goal Statement:

To ensure safe, decent and adequate housing opportunities within Nez Perce County to meet the needs of individuals of all socio-economic backgrounds, the elderly and the disabled.

Policies:

  1. Nez Perce County should encourage the development of a diversity of housing types (single-family, multi-family, etc.) and choices between ownership and rental units for all income groups in various locations throughout the county.
  2. Nez Perce County should encourage the use of planned unit and cluster subdivision development types in rural areas.
  3. Nez Perce County should support the maintenance of its housing stock through enforcement of health, fire, zoning and building code regulations.
  4. Nez Perce County should encourage denser housing development to locate in or adjacent to incorporated cities and communities.
  5. Nez Perce County should develop standards for location of roads and utilities for subdivisions in rural areas.
  6. Nez Perce County should develop regulations that encourage developers to bring antiquated undeveloped subdivisions to current standards and general regulations.

 

Housing Strategy Chart

 

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