Why is Housing so Important?  Why is a housing focus included in an economic development plan?  Why are we so worried about housing? And Why is it keeping us up at night?

We all know someone who has been affected by the tight housing market.  Someone who is looking for a house or an apartment and is coming up empty handed because maybe they lost a bidding war, or it was sold before they had a chance to view it.  It’s not just happening somewhere else; it is happening here in Berks County.  Housing is hard to find, afford, and you better not be choosy.

Jaime Perez holding an award from Building Berks 2023
Jaime Perez, Housing Planner, holding an award from the 2023 Building Berks Awards

It’s been a long time since we have undertaken any comprehensive housing planning. So, we knew we had to address that – and address it we did.  Say hello to Jaime Perez.  Jaime has been on board as an IMAGINE Berks team member for a little less than one year and he is using his passion, motivation, and connections to bring housing to the forefront of community conversations.

Those conversations surround some really challenging data from 2023.  While there were significantly fewer home sales than in 2022, it was not because of a lack of interested homebuyers. Demand was strong even though mortgage rates hit a 23-year high during the fall. Lack of inventory continued to be the primary constraint on the regional housing market. This moment is the perfect time to implement new strategies and initiatives that reinvigorate obsolete properties and add new housing to our communities across the county at all levels.

As you can see, this market isn’t for the faint of heart!  As we continue to put our thoughts and minds to this, we will be putting together actionable strategies and projects to address – appropriately and smartly – housing choice in Berks County.

Stay tuned for more information and articles like this on www.IMAGINEBerks.org