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Silver Spring Central Business District Housing Market

1998

Silver Spring CBD's housing stock is unusual in the County:

  • Virtually all units are renter-occupied.
  • Vacancy rates are low but rents are also moderate.
  • Efficiency and one-bedroom units represent an extremely high 70 percent of the housing stock, attracting many small households, few children, and few dual income households.

CBD residents' demographic characteristics are typical of a rental, multi-family housing market:

  • More women, more minorities, and smaller households live in the CBD, than in single family areas.
  • Rental housing frequently has more people in their 20s and more who are 65 and older than other areas. This is true of Silver Spring CBD, but the percentage of those over 65 has decreased from 27.1 percent to 21.5 percent between 1987 and 1994, while the percentage of middle-aged people and children has increased.
  • In keeping with the smaller households, incomes in the CBD are lower than in other areas of the County where housing units are larger.

Staff and consultant analysis indicates that mid- and high-rise housing would be difficult to construct in the CBD at this time because of high construction costs and other factors, but low-rise high-density apartments, townhouses, and piggy-back townhouses appear feasible:

  • The strongest factor inhibiting new housing development in the CBD is not overall demand but the ability of the market to construct housing affordable in the current housing market. Encouraging the feasible housing types appears to be a good way to engender more residential construction.
  • The feasible housing types would enhance the variety and choice of housing in the CBD and could be expected to increase the pool of prospective residents for the area.
  • Parking is a major cost of housing development. Methods of moderating this cost could contribute to the feasibility of more housing construction in the CBD.