Good & Not So Good News for Housing in Burlington

According to The Burlington Free Press this week, construction of 40 affordable housing units began in the Old North End at the same time recent reports show that Burlington rents remain high and apartment vacancy remains low. Run on the same day, these two stories frame a tale of the challenges and opportunities of creating housing in Burlington. One universal does ring clear, there is an immediate need for housing in Burlington; all types of housing for all types of residents.

Burlington’s vacancy rate, a benchmark of a healthy housing market, is at 1.1% as reported by the Burlington Free Press. “A healthy housing market, economists believe, has a vacancy rate around 4 percent.”

BBA Executive Director Kelly Devine said, “It is no surprise then that rental rates remain high across the city. Additional housing supply will likely soften rental rates. The Bright Street Co-op helps address the supply issue and continue the progress of new investment in the Old North End. The city still needs housing to fulfill the needs of those who do not meet affordability thresholds.”

UVM Senior Meredith Rofheart interviewed by the Burlington Free Press said,“The rent is too high for what we’re paying for: the location is great — we’re close to downtown and close to campus — but the apartments themselves are pretty gross.”


The Bright Street Co-op is the first new affordable housing in the Old North End going up in over a decade. Photo courtesy of Champlain Housing Trust

The Bright Street Co-op will bring housing and community development benefits to its residents, the neighborhood, and Burlington community, it will also generate economic advantages. “It will create 118 on-site jobs and 177 off-site jobs while providing more than $25 million in construction and indirect economic benefit,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens.

More information on the Bright Street Housing Cooperative can be found here.