The housing crunch in the Lehigh Valley is compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. The city is also experiencing gentrification, with a lack of affordable housing and a rise in high-end development. In recent weeks, South Bethlehem has received over three hundred new apartment applications for luxury apartments. Interestingly, only 10 of them are affordable, making it a challenging neighborhood for those who can’t afford to pay top prices.
The influx of newcomers in the region caused a housing boom around Bethlehem Steel. The plant took up 130 acres in south Bethlehem, making it an affordable place for immigrants. In fact, homeownership rates were high, and the community pride was high. However, inequity, high unemployment, and the need to live in an urban setting made many people move out.
With a disproportionately high Hispanic population, Bethlehem Steel fueled the boom in affordable housing in the area. The company’s sprawling campus occupied 130 acres in south Bethlehem. Newcomers were able to afford brick row homes on mill pay. As a result, homeownership was high, and neighborhood pride was high. But a real estate boom and pandemic have altered that.
While the pandemic has slowed the economy, it has not weakened the local economy. The local Hispanic population accounted for 30 percent of Bethlehem’s population, and the city’s Hispanic population accounts for 32 percent of its population. In addition to being more likely to contract the flu, Hispanics also had more health-related risks.
The recent construction boom in South Bethlehem has resulted in an oversupply of homes in the city. While this is a welcome change, it is a concern for the residents of the area. The current market has become a thriving and vibrant place for the Latino population. Its growth has created a more diverse and inclusive city. The local economy can be characterized as prosperous if it is well-diversified.
While the market has recovered from the pandemic and the economic conditions are generally favorable, the market will not crash in 2022. The economy has surpassed its crisis, and will probably regain 100 percent of its jobs by then. The housing market’s frenzied nature was caused by several forces, which now have been overcome. While the supply of housing continues to increase, the demand remains high.
The number of houses sold in the area remains steady, although the amount of units sold is lower than in previous years. This means the population is growing faster than housing availability, which is a major concern for the region. The Planning Commission is meeting on the issue, but the meeting has not yet produced any agenda items for the meeting. The public is invited to attend and provide input.