Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Warren Co. homes more valuable

Study finds $131,000 average price

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Single-family homes in Ohio's second-fastest-growing county are more valuable and pricier than ever before, a study released by the Warren County Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) found.

        The average value of a home in Warren County surpassed $131,000 last year, according to the study. That's a 4.6 percent increase from $125,000 in 1998.

        HAC's research also showed that single-family homes sold for an average of $163,000 last year, up from $149,000 in 1998. Meanwhile, 232 more houses were sold last year (5,186) than in 1998 (4,954).

        That's good news for the middle- to high-income people wanting to move into Warren County — those who want to stay and move up to larger homes, and those who want condominiums. But some county officials worry the rising cost of housing is widening the gap between the county's number of poor families and the supply of housing they can afford.

        “Our housing costs are obviously increasing a lot faster than the income level of some of our residents,” said Yana Keck, a spokeswoman for the county's regional planning commission, noting the county's estimated median household income was $57,800. “It is definitely a cause for concern in terms of what type of affordable housing is available.”

        Warren County Metropolitan Housing has 194 public housing units and more than 212 people on its waiting list, according to the HAC study. There are 379 Section 8 and 78 New Housing Opportunities housing units and waiting lists of 415 and 28 people, respectively.

        In Deerfield Township, where 11,638 of the county's 41,066 single-family homes are, lack of affordable housing is a concern.

        “We simply don't have much in the way of lower- to middle-income housing,” said Dan Theno, Deerfield's administrator of development and community relations. “And the areas that we do have are diminishing rapidly. Deerfield is basically a middle- to upper-income community.”

        Mr. Theno said that may be a good demographic for luring upscale businesses like Nordstrom to the township, but presents a problem when workers can't afford to live where they work.

        “A lot of people who work in the township can't afford to live here because they they don't make enough money,” said Mr. Theno.

        But Warren County Administrator Bob Price said finding affordable housing all depends on where one wants to live and what one finds affordable.

        “If you want to live in specific parts of the county, yes, it is going to cost a lot of money,” Mr. Price said.


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- Warren Co. homes more valuable