Housing is a tremendous challenge for many communities, especially those with characteristics like Bay City. With the population decline between 2000 and 2010, there was a decrease in available homes (8,035 in 2000 vs. 7,856 in 2010 per US Census). In addition, builders will be hesitant to build in a community with a history of population decline because it indicates there will not be a market for their properties. Bay City has taken a proactive approach to encourage housing development and is working with developers to encourage new building. This has shown success in several new projects breaking ground in the area.
Given the large transient population in Bay City, it will be important to work with apartment developers and RV Park developers to address this demand for longer term housing than hotels. This is a challenge to address because many residents are resistant to developments of this type, and developers are often wary of making significant investments because the population is not stable. It will be a challenge to meet the demand for this type of housing; however, it is an opportunity for the City.
An area of concern is the lack of homes for sale. Potential new residents may not be able to find suitable homes available in their price range and decide to look elsewhere. Another issue is the large number of ‘Other’ vacant homes. These represent homes that are unoccupied, but not for sale or rent. These may be homes that have been abandoned, held in trusts, or other issues. There needs to be a focus on ensuring these homes are maintained and do not become sources of blight in the community. Code Enforcement should prioritize these properties for attention.
The majority of homes in Bay City are single family (54.9%). Bay City is fortunate to have a significant percentage of multi family homes; however, the low vacancy rates means there are few available for potential residents. The City should continue to focus on developing a diversity of housing options, both multi and single family to ensure adequate opportunities for potential residents. This data comes from the American Community Survey, which is a statistical survey rather than actual count like the US Census. This is why the numbers in this table are different from the other Housing data.
With a median value of $108,032, a median priced home would be within reach of a family making the median income; however, without a significant down payment, the monthly payment might be a struggle. Also, given the limited number of homes available, it may be difficult for a potential resident to find a suitable home in their price range.