Post #403: When will the last small house in Vienna be torn down?

Posted on September 30, 2019

Approximately 2050, at the current tear-down rate.

Calculation follows.

  • Years of housing stock remaining =
  • Current housing stock
  • Times % amenable to tear-down
  • Times % not already torn down
  • Divided by new houses being built per year.
  • Years of housing stock remaining =
  • 4,626 (Source:  2019-2020 Town budget, page 24)
  • 80% (total guess)
  • 90% (total guess)
  • 100 (Source: 2019-2020 Town budget, page 277)

= 33 years.

2019 + 33 = 2050, rounded to the nearest ten.

Not sure that the calculation is worth much.  But to me, the interesting fact is the number of building permits in the typical year.  In any given year, the Town only issues about 100 permits for new detached homes.  (And since Vienna is nearly fully built-up, I interpret that as about 100 tear-downs per year).

So, while it seems like tear-downs are everywhere, and it seemed to me that the pace of the tear-down boom has been accelerating, the Town’s data on building permits says otherwise.  It’s about 100/year now, and it was about 100/year in (say) 2014.

It’s probably true that you can’t actually buy a small house in Vienna, to live in, because the lot is worth more as a tear-down than the structure is worth as a residence.  And it’s certainly true that the houses being offered for sale in Vienna appear heavily weighted toward new construction (see Post #308).

But in terms of small houses going extinct in Vienna, nope.  At the current rate, it does not appear that will happen any time soon.