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Why is Home-Ownership Down in Virginia

Home ownership in Virginia is down around 10 percent from its peak in the early 2000s, when about three-quarters of homes were owned by the people who lived there. This week, the Virginia Housing Commission heard why that might be.

Back in the heady days of the early 2000s, Virginia was handing out single-family building permits like candy. The numbers are now less than half of their former high.

Rising construction costs and strict zoning laws are partially to blame, according to real estate attorney Preston Lloyd. “We’ve seen a population inflow, especially in the city of Richmond. And that’s actually increased the demand for housing that has outpaced the supply. The single-family developers that I represent say, ‘We don’t have enough lots available, because it’s become so challenging to go through the conditional zoning process in some of the outer counties.’”

Lloyd also says that wages haven’t kept up with housing prices in many parts of Virginia.