A report released on Thursday from the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, which provides the planning service to any municipality in the Valley, believes that most residents in the region will have difficulty find an affordable house anywhere near their place of employment.
The study reveals that Allentown and Bethlehem, the two largest cities in the Valley, is where 55% of the households earn less than $18,000 per year. Meanwhile, those two cities do have the most affordable housing in the region, often they are not near the low wage employment of their residents.
This means that the people who want to live in the affordable house of the city, must either must have cars--which can be expensive in the outlay of cash for gas an maintenance--or pay extra to travel on public transportation to their workplace, if available.
The only other option is live in the higher price housing communities near the suburbs and rural areas, which often are where the lower paying jobs are in abundance.
Following this option will have low income wage earners living in more expensive houses and paying greater amounts in taxes, which in turn still does not correlate with their earnings.
This is why the commission is recommending that the Lehigh Valley develop a plan to help ease these mismatches in the housing market.
A well crafted housing plan by the region would seek to end the shortage of home for households earning less than $30,000 per year, while increasing the availability of upscale housing for those making over $70,000 a year.
The commission also believes that a good plan would reduce the oversupply of houses for those households with incomes between $30,000 to $70,000.
Erasing the housing mismatch would also prove vital in attracting new companies and those looking to relocate to the Lehigh Valley to take advantage of the lower cost of living when compared to nearby bigger cities like New York and Philadelphia.