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BCRC Completes Analysis of Housing Market

Bennington hired the BCRC to complete a report on the local housing market. This project followed a recommendation contained in the 2013 Bennington Strategic Economic Development Plan to “produce a strategy to develop an adequate supply of housing units at affordability levels consistent with the workforce needs of Bennington businesses”.

To develop the report, BCRC collected and analyzed economic, demographic and housing data; reviewed existing local and regional planning documents as they pertained to housing policy; hosted focus groups of real estate professionals, finance professionals, human resource officers and landlords and developers; and conducted an employer survey.

The underlying assumption going into the project was that the lack of quality housing at all levels impacted the ability of area businesses to recruit and retain employees. While this assumption did not bear out, a number of issues were identified and five key recommendations to address the concerns resulted:

  • Reverse the trend of renter-occupied housing in and around the central business district.
  • Work with area employers to encourage employees to live in Bennington.
  • Work with local financial institutions to support improved housing conditions.
  • Establish a set of tools administered by the municipality to encourage the improvement of the housing stock for both rental and ownership at a variety of levels.
  • Increase landlord, tenant and buyer education, accountability and financial literacy.

The Bennington Housing Report was adopted by the Bennington Select Board in January and the town and its economic development partners have begun implementation activities.