Duluth is growing jobs in health care, engineering, aviation and other sectors. But its aging housing stock is falling behind the region's growing economy.
City officials say adding more affordable housing is crucial to building the city's workforce and population. On Wednesday, they celebrated the opening of a 37-lot subdivision as a step forward.
"A lot of people come to Duluth for jobs and what they hear employees say is, 'Whoa, your housing is much more expensive'" than expected, city councilmember Linda Krug said.
People who thought they might pay $150,000 to get the home they want may be surprised to find the price closer to $250,000, she added.
Duluth's current home vacancy rate is less than 2 percent. City officials say a healthier figure tracks closer to 5 percent.
That's why the new lots at Hawk Ridge Estates are important, said Rick Ball, executive director of the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
Mayor Don Ness hopes to grow Duluth's population to 90,000 by 2020, up from roughly 86,000 last year.