15 Sep The future of housing in Woodstock
Location: Cherokee County, GA
Client: City of Woodstock
Services provided: Comprehensive Citywide Housing Market Study, Needs Analysis, and Strategy Development
KB Advisory Group’s recent citywide housing study for Woodstock, GA
What is the future of housing in Woodstock? In 2021, the City of Woodstock engaged KB Advisory Group (KB) to conduct a citywide housing market study and needs analysis. The goal? Provide perspective on how current and future residential market trends would impact Woodstock. Building on the Cherokee County Housing Study KB completed in 2020, the firm examined trends in the performance of and identified specific elements impacting Woodstock’s housing market.
Woodstock’s population has almost tripled since 2000. That growth happened in the context of expansion in Cherokee County and Atlanta’s ten-county metropolitan region, which has increased by 580,000+ since 2010. Woodstock’s housing inventory expanded and shifted, accompanied by a substantial increase in housing prices as it experienced growth.
Woodstock identified and considered housing and economic issues that called for a comprehensive look at the local housing marketplace. It wanted to understand their relatedness better and devise strategies to address them. The city sought to answer questions about its housing market. KB’s task was to find out:
- What is driving up housing prices locally?
- What is the capacity of the current housing inventory to accommodate growth?
- What incentives are needed to produce missing housing types, and what local policy tools are necessary for their delivery?
Comparative Cities Analysis
KB strategizes for the future of housing in Woodstock. The firm looked at comparable cities to identify how Woodstock measures up to its peers and better understand what was behind Woodstock’s housing supply and demand drivers. Some were in the northern suburbs of the Atlanta metropolitan region. They met KB’s criteria in population, geographic proximity, character similarities and differences, and aspirational qualities.
The housing market is complicated and responds to many economic, fiscal, social, and regulatory stimuli. Some can be influenced or managed locally. KB offered recommendations aligned with Woodstock’s policies and desired economic growth. Based on the analysis, KB compiled strategies to address the city’s changing housing dynamics. They involve various administrative, financial, and regulatory commitments deployed successfully by other city governments facing similar housing issues, which Woodstock could adopt.
Some of the strategies recommended include:
- Make Woodstock’s housing goals and priorities deliberately and intentionally productive, tangible, and implementable; for example, outline a hierarchy of housing needs with targeted outcomes most useful to Woodstock
- Developing a plan to preserve and protect the city’s existing affordable lower-cost housing stock
- Sponsor and support housing stability by assisting first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs
The results of KB’s citywide housing study help define the opportunities and challenges Woodstock faces in the near and long term. It reveals insights into the local residential marketplace that can inform and enhance decision-making processes for housing. The study inputs enable Woodstock to match real estate development decisions and policies with long-range opportunities and goals and, ultimately, to align housing development with the needs generated by new employment and demographic changes. KB also provided the City of Woodstock staff and elected officials with the information and tools to communicate the rationale for critical land use and housing policies to constituents.