Northern Michigan housing struggle corroborated in CLOSUP survey findings

November 2, 2018

The tourism industry is butting heads with affordable housing efforts in Northern Michigan. In an October 29, 2018 piece for The Petoskey News-Review titled “Resort industry poses unique issues in housing shortage,” William T. Perkins cites data from the Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy’s (CLOSUP) June survey on housing impact along with context provided by Tom Ivacko, CLOSUP associate director. 

Northern Michigan’s population doubles in the summer months from tourism, with a sharp decline as winter approaches. To accommodate tourists’ changing trends in vacation lodging, short-term housing rentals are becoming more attractive to developers, decreasing availability of affordable, long-term housing. Ivacko noted that “Northern Michigan really stood out in a number of ways,” when it comes to the shortage of single-family housing identified in the report, with the data showing that while larger cities see the brunt of this issue, areas in Northern Michigan see shortages of single-family and multifamily housing far beyond other smaller towns. 

Ivacko did not definitively cite a cause for such an imbalance, but suggested there is some merit to the theory that attributes its distinction to its resort community traits, saying “We did not break the data down by resort communities versus other types of places; the fact that Northern Michigan does stand out in that way could indicate that.” 

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Tom Ivacko currently serves as the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy’s associate director, having been involved since its founding in 2001. Ivacko also manages the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program at the Ford School of Public Policy.