"Concern is apparent within the business community-particularly among larger employers-about the lack of affordable housing for employees, with companies reporting the shortage as being problematic in hiring and retaining entry- and mid-level workers, according to a new survey released by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). The same survey showed interest by moderate-income workers in moving closer to work if affordable housing were available."
The survey consisted of an employer portion and a consumer (commuter) portion, conducted recently by Harris Interactive. It was presented on June 2 at the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) annual conference in Philadelphia.
The survey indicates the need for those planning, developing, using and managing commercial properties to consider providing improved access to local employee resources and to work with community planners and developers in designing communities that better address both sides of the employer-employee equation.
Some highlights from the employer survey:
- Fifty-five percent of larger companies (those with 100-plus employees) reported a lack of affordable housing near their location.
- Sixty-seven percent of the larger companies that acknowledged a lack of affordable housing believe that it is having a negative impact on retaining qualified entry-level and mid-level employees.
- Fifty-eight percent of the larger companies that acknowledged a lack of affordable housing reported having lost employees at least in part to long commute times.
- Sixty-nine percent of the larger companies believe a long commute increases employee stress; 63 percent believe it triggers negative emotion among employees; 48 percent said it causes more absenteeism; and 46 percent said it contributes to employee turnover/attrition.
- Thirty-six percent of the larger companies believe it is important to be actively involved in providing employee access to affordable housing.
- Awareness among larger companies regarding corporate and government housing programs remains relatively low (25 percent were aware of corporate programs and 34 percent were aware of government programs); but 42 percent of larger companies said they would participate in a government program.
- Forty-five percent of the larger companies offer flextime to reduce commuting time; 21 percent offer telecommuting.
Some highlights from the consumer survey:
- Sixty-seven percent of those with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 would be at least somewhat likely to move closer to work if more affordable housing were available.
- Sixty-four percent of those earning less than $50,000 would be at least somewhat likely to make a lateral employment move in exchange for a shorter commute; compared to 60 percent earning more than $50,000.
- Seventy-six percent of those aged 18-34 would be at least somewhat likely to make a lateral employment move in exchange for a shorter commute; and 76 percent in that age group would be at least somewhat likely to move closer to work if affordable housing were available.
- Fifty-seven percent of all commuters surveyed said they would be at least somewhat likely to move closer to work if affordable housing were available.
- Eighty-five percent of respondents who commute more than 90 minutes daily said they would be at least somewhat likely to make a lateral job switch to cut their commute in half.
- Forty-seven percent who work in suburbs prefer to live closer to work even though it may mean higher housing prices and less disposable income; while 53 percent of suburban workers prefer to live in an area with affordable housing opportunities and more disposable income, even if it means living further away from work and having a longer commute.
The main aim of the ULI, as a result of the survey, is to increase the supply of affordable housing.
Click here for the full ULI news release about the survey
See details of the survey here.
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