A newly released survey of Chelan and Douglas County residents shows there's major concern over housing issues.

The survey conducted by the group Our Valley Our Future from mid-May through early June, found that the cost and inadequate supply of homes are the biggest challenges for people.

More than 97 percent of respondents label housing issues as "important", “somewhat important’ or “extremely important” for the region, while 60 say they've considered relocating because of housing difficulties..

Among people aged 18 to 34 years, 73 percent say they have considered relocating.

More than 1,500 residents in Chelan and Douglas counties took part in the survey

A release from Our Valley Our Future says the findings will help shape upcoming recommendations in the new Action Plan for regional housing.

“The survey results make it clear that residents consider housing the biggest challenge facing the region today,” said Steve Maher, Our Valley Our Future coordinator, who oversaw the survey project. “Among those struggling the most are middle- and low-income people, including those who fill essential jobs.

A diverse range housing types are favored by residents.  They include accessory dwelling units, courtyard-style housing, townhomes, duplexes, community housing trust homes, apartments owned by a government entity or a nonprofit, and permanent housing for the homeless.

Among other findings in the report:

  • More than 9 out of 10 survey respondents consider a 66-percent hike in the median home sales price since 2017 a regionwide “problem.”

  • About 54 percent say they don’t believe the free market will automatically correct housing problems, while 34 percent say it will. The rest are undecided.

  • About 43 percent of survey respondents say they are willing to financially support — as taxpayers — new affordable housing and infrastructure tied to new affordable housing. Eighteen percent answered ‘No” to that question, while another 31 percent answered “Maybe.”

“The impacts are many," Maher said. People are turning down job offers because they can’t find a place to live here. Households are spending so much on housing that they have little, or no money left to eat out or to buy basic goods and services,” Maher said.

Our Valley Our Future was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit organization that brings together community members and organizations to improve the region’s quality of life. Its guiding document is its Action Plan.

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