May 6, 2024

New Data Shows Kentucky Needs More than 200,000 Housing Units

On April 16, the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) and Bowen National Research (Bowen) released findings of its Kentucky Housing Supply Gap Analysis. The bottom line is that Kentucky needs more housing – 206,207 units, to be precise.

KHC described the analysis as essential to correct the housing gap on all levels, including in cities. The findings include a county-by-county examination of Kentucky’s current housing supply. This summer, KHC and Bowen will release a five-year projection of the housing supply gap based on population trends, job growth, housing starts, and other data.

The Housing Supply Gap Analysis uncovered housing shortages in Kentucky’s 120 counties and 15 Area Development Districts as of 2024. Data shows Kentucky has a gap of:

  • 101,569 rental units
  • 104,638 for-sale units

KHC officials said the gap is manifesting in a variety of ways. There are fewer rental and for-sale properties on the market. Home and rent prices are increasing, causing middle-income and low-income Kentuckians to compete for the same units.

A January 2024 Urban Institute study backs this theory. It showed that a lack of housing supply throughout the United States has caused home prices and rents to increase.

“The housing supply shortage is Kentucky’s most urgent housing issue,” said KHC Deputy Executive Director of Housing Programs Wendy Smith. “It’s impacting middle-income Kentuckians and poor Kentuckians alike. Increasing our housing supply is key to increasing homeownership rates, lowering housing costs, and reducing housing instability and homelessness.”

The housing shortage impacts every county and every income level. All 120 counties experienced a gap in 2024, and some rural counties had a larger disparity in proportion to their population.

While those in the lower income brackets had more difficulty finding housing, gaps along the continuum impacted people at all income levels. The KHC data is a current snapshot. Kentucky communities are on track for growth, jobs, and economic development, which is positive but will also further the need for housing in the future.

The KHC data release was the first step in a communal effort. KHC, along with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky League of Cities, have been studying the need for additional housing in the state. Armed with this data, KHC will examine how its programs and the efforts of public and private partners can address the supply gap. 

You can view a KHC PowerPoint and other materials, as well as a short video on understanding and sharing the data. City officials can sign up to receive updates as KHC continues its research.

On May 15, KLC will provide a webinar training with experts to help cities learn how to attract housing to their communities. Learn more and register for Development 101 and Top 10 Things Cities Can Do to Attract Developers.

KHC and Bowen will present follow-up data during the Kentucky League of Cities Conference & Expo, which will take place September 24-27 in Lexington.