Hampton hopes to increase home ownership in the city with new programs, curb appeal grant

Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Housing in Hampton — that was the big topic at City Council’s special session Wednesday. 

City officials say over the past 10 years home ownership has dropped, while renting has gone up.

Division Manager for Housing and Neighborhoods Jonathan McBride told council members part of it has to do with the demands of the millennial generation and the idea of whether the investment in buying a house is worth it.

“A lot of it’s going to be place, creating that synergy where it comes to developing a good downtown — a thriving place with restaurants and places to work places to recreate — but also it’s access to be able to get around the region,” said McBride.

McBride says getting more people to buy instead of rent is going to be a long process, because ultimately it comes down to increasing home value.

Research presented in McBride’s presentation showed 55 percent of people in Hampton own homes versus the 45 percent that rent.

These numbers put Hampton in between Newport News and Virginia Beach in the region. Newport News is about 50-50 owner versus renter, while Virginia Beach is 64 percent homeowners and 36 percent renters.

Ten years ago home ownership was at 62 percent to 38 percent of renters.

McBride says another big part to consider is while less people are making the choice to own homes, the city is growing with places like condos and apartments.

“That shift in total ownership numbers is because we’re seeing more multi-family we’re seeing a growth in our Collesium area, our downtown areas, our Phoebus areas,” he said.

One Hampton resident who attended the meeting says she believes more people are renting because of costs.

 “I don’t think it’s that they don’t want to buy [or] they don’t want to own. I think it’s the affordability, the opportunities out here,” she said.

McBride says one program they’ll be introducing to help with the issue is a block-by-block improvement program that’s grant-funded to help with neighborhood curb appeal.

“It’s really focusing on encouraging homeowners to invest in those key things like roofs and porches and landscaping that really make those homes stand out,” McBride explained.

There are also some other aspects they want to research to help boost those ownership numbers like the school system and what the market will look like in the long-term.

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