Read the full chapter for Housing and Community Development from the proposed Comprehensive Development Plan V
Newark is a home where people grow up, raise families, attend University, work, play, and retire. Housing is an essential element of the City’s vision as a healthy/active, sustainable, and inclusive community.
Ensure that existing and future housing developments are built within neighborhoods that safely accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including connectivity to parks, commercial and employment centers, and other residential areas.
Provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing that preserves quality housing stock, protect against neighborhood blight, and improve the appearance of older neighborhoods through rehabilitation and redevelopment.
Ensure an adequate supply of housing choices and styles, illuminate impediments to fair housing, and encourage a housing supply and implement programs that make housing affordable.
The 2009 Newark Resident Survey and Planning Commission Workshops identified several key findings:
- Newark is an “excellent place for senior citizens to live” based on variety and affordability of housing, and AC zoning which age-restricts occupants to 55 and older.
- Residents have a high level of satisfaction with the attractiveness of their neighborhood, but express concern about “deteriorating neighborhoods and housing”.
- Mix of housing types, choices and affordability levels were cited as strengths; however, the “student housing market” was blamed for inflating housing costs and creating lack of housing choices for low to moderate income households and families to buy or rent.
- Strong support for City programs that promote owner-occupancy by providing financial incentives to first-time & low to moderate income homebuyers.
- Strong concerns regarding the conversion neighborhoods with single-family homes into student rental areas, as well as frustration on a perceived lack of code enforcement on single-family homes used as student rentals.
- Concern regarding the “overdevelopment” of apartment housing targeted as student rentals, particularly in Downtown, where there is a desire to see more owner-occupied housing.
The most significantly growing age cohort in Newark is residents over 65 years of age. Numerous publications and studies indicate that Delaware, like the rest of the nation, is in the midst of a demographic and market shift that will significantly change consumer demand for various styles and types of housing over the next 20 years. This market shift is being driven by two population cohorts: the Baby Boomers, generally consider persons born between the years 1946 to 1964; and Millennial, generally considered persons to be born between the years 1984 and 2002.
Baby Boomers were once the prime market for the single-family houses in the suburbs. Today, this aging cohort is looking to downsize into more manageable housing, and are moving to communities that are walkable and transit oriented in order to be less dependent on their automobiles. Millennials, on the other hand, were the first American generation where the majority grew up in suburban neighborhoods. Market research indicates that this generation is less interested in purchasing a home or automobile, and wants to live in places that are pedestrian and bicycle oriented, and offers a wide variety of entertainment and lifestyle choices. In other words, they are not interested in living in the suburbs where they grew up. The population cohort in between, often referred to as Gen X, persons born between the years 1964 and 1983, are now the primary market for single family houses in the suburbs. However, this is a smaller cohort than the Baby Boomers and Millennials. As a result, Delaware Population Consortium (DPC) projections indicate that there will be a large amount of suburban homes placed on the market by baby boomers, and that there will be a decline in the number of “buyers” that typically seek larger homes.