The Board of Garrett County Commissioners is committed to exploring housing options in Garrett County. A lack of affordable housing is a complex issue where many residents, or would-be residents, are struggling to find suitable housing that fits within their budget.
Across the United States affordable housing is a challenge and it’s no different here in Garrett County. The first question is what is “affordable housing”?
The Commissioners have been researching where existing subsidized housing programs stop and where residents could use some additional support. Taking small steps forward is integral in retaining population and supporting essential services such as healthcare, education, and emergency response.
Note affordable housing is not the same as subsidized housing or even “market rate” housing. In 2022, the average home price in the Garrett County market was over $550,000. With the median income in Garrett County (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) at $58,011, a home at “market rate” pricing is well out of the average local household’s reach.
The Commissioners' goal is to initiate programs and help with infrastructure to get homes available for purchase at a price point of $150,000 to $225,000. To achieve this ideal price point, the housing available for purchase will likely be a combination of condominiums, townhomes, duplexes, and/or single-family homes.
"We understand that housing affordability is a pressing concern for many residents here in Garrett County,” said Paul Edwards, Chairman of The Board of Garrett County Commissioners. "We are committed to working towards finding sustainable and long-term solutions.”
The Commissioners have developed a plan with private and public partners and collaborators to assist with infrastructure such as water, sewer, and roads that will enable a developer to build homes in the range of what is “affordable” and below market rate.
Creating a plan is important as there are two sides to the same housing inventory coin: homes need to be available while potential buyers also need to qualify for financing programs.
"We are encouraged by the initial discussions we've had with our partners and collaborators, and we believe that together, we can find solutions to make more housing accessible and affordable,” said Edwards.