Obvious as a House

By Jaime Fuller

CorvallisHousingSurveyResults are in from the housing study we detailed in our June 19issue, finding, among other things, that 18,476 of those employed in Corvallis commute from out of town, while 9,316 Corvallis residents work elsewhere. It also showed a mere 36% of people employed in Corvallis live in town as well. What could be causing such a large portion of people to live outside of the city where they work?

According to the study, “High housing costs are the most significant barrier for respondents who would consider moving to Corvallis.” This is especially true for any household that earns less than $83,300 a year. The average residential sales price in Corvallis is about $307,000, a significantly higher number than Albany’s average price of $196,000 and Lebanon’s of $151,000. As of 2014, the median sales price for a house in Corvallis is approximately $270,000.

The median family income for Benton County in 2014 is $69,400. A family earning this income could afford to pay about $1,735 for housing per month, which would be sufficient for a house costing about $210,000. 

To purchase a house in Corvallis at the median price, housing costs would be about $1,900, including the mortgage payment, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Some interesting findings from the study:

  • Respondents living outside Corvallis paid about the same for housing costs as respondents living inside Corvallis.
  • A slightly higher percentage of people who live outside Corvallis lived in single-family homes and had larger homes and lots than those living in Corvallis.
  • The majority of respondents living outside Corvallis commuted 19 miles or less to their place of work.
  • The top three reasons why people who work in Corvallis chose to live outside of town included wanting a more affordable home, a rural setting, and to own their residence.
  • The not-so-scientific study was done online and was targeted at employees of major businesses in Corvallis rather than taking a random sample, so it’s not without its biases. A total of 44 employers participated, eight of which had at least 200 employees. Using this information, the Corvallis City Council says it hopes to “create policies, regulations, and strategies to help meet the housing needs of those who live here or wish to live here.”

A PDF copy of the report is available on the City’s website (www.corvallisoregon.gov) in the Council Meeting Packets section under Aug. 18, 2014.