A lack of land for sale, and an untested market has limited Edgerton’s residential growth, according to a recent housing study commissioned by EdlevateEdgerton!
James Oltman, ElevateEdgerton! recently provided information at an Edgerton City council meeting regarding a housing study.
The board of directors for ElevateEdgerton! completed a study based only on Edgerton. He said the board for ElevateEdgerton! contracted with RDG Planning and Design to conduct a housing assessment for 2020.
RDG researched market trends, activity in and around Edgerton, etc. He stated the company then sent personnel to the community where a tour was given, showing areas of growth and areas that could grow within the community. He stated RDG completed focus groups with city staff, city area real estate professionals, community members, LPKC employers, etc. to hear from those that are directly affected by the changes within and around the community.
He said part of the process was a review of the city’s current building codes to see if there are requirements creating an undue burden or if there is something another community is doing that could benefit Edgerton.
He stated the final step in the process was the final report that
showed the market analysis, overview of housing challenges and assets, directions for moving forward and a memo regarding the code review. According to the report, demolitions have outpaced construction in Edgerton with 23 houses lost and six constructed. He said 79 percent of Edgerton’s housing stock was constructed between 1970 and 2009 with 36 percent being in the 1970s and less than one percent being built in the last 10 years.
The 23 houses demolished were houses that only became part of the city due to the annexations and were not in Edgerton prior to 2010.
According to national reports, households spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered cost burdened. According to Oltman, 22 percent of Edgerton homeowners pay more than 30 percent and 39 percent of Edgerton renters pay more than that 30 percent.
A variety of rental units are not available allowing existing rental landlords the ability to charge higher prices even if the quality is low, Oltman said. Edgerton’s median rent is the third lowest in Johnson County at $756.
This rate is up 14 percent since 2010, and the greatest shortage of housing demand is for households in higher income ranges making more than $75,000 a year. The average wages at LPKC for one person are right at about $40,000 a year.
Oltman said in a household where both adults work at LPKC, that household will be making over $80,000 or more a year. He stated most employees come from within a 30-minute average radius, but some come from as far as Kansas City. There is an opportunity because many of those people would be interested in moving closer to work.
Affordable or entry-level housing needs do not have to be met through
new construction, they can be met when existing owners upgrade into new construction because they have outgrown their current plan.
When Edgerton does get new housing stock, people will upgrade to those newer homes and put their homes on the market for those first-time home buyers.
Edgerton does have some housing growth issues, Oltman said. The largest
barrier to growth is the lack of buildable lots. There are several builders who would like to build, but there are not enough small lots ready to go to build on.
There are places that some might think could be developed, but when proximity of infrastructure to available parcels is considered, this makes it almost impossible for most places to be built on without an excess of money being spent to make the infrastructure available.
He stated the cost of land is inflated right now, and numbers to purchase and build do not work currently.
Developers are averse to taking on the risk to extend infrastructure in what is seen as an untested market.
The final issue, Oltman said, is the shortage of quality rental options. No market rate multi-family construction has occurred in Edgerton in over 20 years, and this type of housing allows an individual or family
to transition into a community. When renting, the person or family has the ability to try before they buy and see if the community is right for them.
According to focus group participants, 92 percent said a mid-size three-
bedroom house would be the most successful product for the market, 82 percent said a small two-or three-bedroom house, 72 percent said a townhouse or duplex, 58 percent said a larger home with four or more bedrooms and 43 percent said large lot residential.
To be successful, Oltman said, Edgerton must have landowners willing to sell their land in line with the current market rate, land that is in close proximity to utilities and off-site improvements, a developer interested in a partnership and that is invested in the community as a whole and city participation and support for that development to occur. As far as strategic objectives, Edgerton must find ways to share the risk
with the private market that may see Edgerton as untested and thus a high risk.
Edgerton needs help to provide a range of housing types that meet housing needs for households at different points in their life as well as a continued effort to invest in the community’s quality of life assets such as internet, parks and trails.