Temple audit studies current housing and needs of residents

  • Ivy Vann presents housing data for the Town of Temple during a housing forum on Monday night. STAFF PHOTOS BY ASHLEY SAARI

  • Bruce Kullgren comments on how most zoning in the state disallows the kinds of development that creates villages, despite them often being the most picturesque areas of towns. “It doesn’t allow us to have what we love,” he said.

  • Ivy Vann said the housing audit will determine “what kind of housing Temple has now, what it needs, and what, if anything, the town wants to do about those two questions.” STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/14/2023 12:50:07 PM

The median age of residents in Temple is rising, its households small and housing expensive, a study of the town’s housing needs found.

The Temple Planning Board is undergoing an audit of its zoning code and assessment of community needs this year, using funds from a Housing Opportunity Grant, and has been holding a series of housing forums for the community. On Monday, the forum included a presentation from planning consultant Ivy Vann on work she’s done so far.

Vann said the assessment will determine “what kind of housing Temple has now, what it needs, and what, if anything, the town wants to do about those two questions.”

Temple is a microcosm of what Vann said is a larger problem in the state – both a lack of housing and what Vann termed “housing choice.” Vann said the two most-common types of housing in the state are large stand-alone homes built on single lots, and apartment complexes. Temple’s housing is mostly the first – in fact, single-family homes on a single lot represent 88% of Temple’s housing.

Vann said housing needs statewide are “a mess.” According to an analysis by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority in the spring of 2023, New Hampshire needs approximately 24,000 more housing units than it has. Vann said those numbers accommodate the unhoused and situations such as room-sharing and adult children who would move out of their parents’ homes if there were affordable stock available, or who were unable to relocate for work due to lack of housing.

Based on Temple’s population, using that number, there’s a need for about 23 more homes, Vann said.

During an analysis of Temple’s current housing market, Vann, along with the town’s other planning consultant, Carol Ogilvie, found that the median cost of current housing is $451,000. But despite larger homes being the norm, two-thirds of the Temple population lives either alone or with one other person.

“That was a big indication that there’s a mismatch,” Vann said.

Temple’s population is also aging, with the median age of Temple residents being 47 (compared to the state median of 45), with 46% of residents being over the age of 50.

Vann said analysis shows that most jobs in the state do not pay enough to maintain owning housing in Temple on a single salary, with some also unable to afford a rental, were they available. The median income of Temple residents is about $80,000, according to Vann.

“This is a supply issue,” Vann said. “Not every problem is solved by having more supply, but not having enough supply creates all kinds of problems.”

Vann and Ogilvie completed a housing audit of the town’s zoning code, which Vann said encourages single homes on larger lot sizes. She said one of the issues that will be the subject of upcoming forums is the town’s code as it relates to workforce housing.

The forum, attended by about 25 people, is intended to pair with two more upcoming housing forums, scheduled for Nov. 27 and Dec. 11. Both forums will be held at 7 p.m. in Friendship Hall, next to the Temple Congregational Church. The Nov. 27 forum will include a showing of the film “Communities and Consequences,” and the Dec. 11 presentation will include a presentation on possible housing solutions.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.

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