The Post reports that researchers at George Mason University have found that housing construction in the region simply won’t keep pace with the number of jobs expected to be added over the next 20 years:
Their research showed that the Washington area, defined by 22 counties and cities, is expected to add 1.05 million jobs through 2030. More than a third of those jobs will be in the professional and technical sector, but significant growth also is expected in administrative, service and health-related jobs that often pay lower wages. If those numbers hold true, that boom will require as many as 731,457 additional housing units to house workers in the jurisdictions where they work, the study found.
More jobs are good, right? Yes. But with that many jobs, the researchers found, municipalities would have to build 38,000 new housing units a year; over the last 19 years, the average hasn’t exceeded 29,000.
As for how it breaks down, the majority of the job growth will be in Northern Virginia, while Montgomery County will lead the charge for Maryland. In the District, more than 120,000 units of housing will be needed for an estimated 150,000 workers.
Of course, to a certain extent, all of that pent up demand is good for people who own — home values will likely rise. But the more expensive housing gets, and the harder it is to get around, the more that those valuable employers will tire of the region and look to settle elsewhere. Basically, we’re at a point at which the talks of denser developments have to start coming to fruition, lest we risk future economic growth.
Sadly, in the District, this all means smaller houses and apartments than we already have.