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Is Your Community Affordable?

By KathodeRay Media

Help new residents find your town or city.

People are actively looking for a community that fills their wants, needs, and desires. They may be looking to:

  • Find a community where they can purchase their first home and raise a family.
  • Retire somewhere where they can have things to do and be near family, friends, or medical facilities.
  • Strike out on their own for the first time, either with a partner or without.

What attracts people to a new place to live?

Looking at what keywords people search for the most can help you determine how best to answer their needs. If you have a Google Ads account you can conduct your own research, to help you determine opportunities:

  1. Sign into your Google Ads account
  2. Click “Tools and Settings” -> “Planning” -> “Keyword Planner”

We’ve run some research ourselves, and the result? As home and rental costs continue to rise, many people are looking for affordable places to live. Here are some Google Search statistics to help you understand what United States residents are looking for in October-November 2022.

Affordable Housing has 165,000 monthly searches with a 307% yearly change. This means a lot more people are searching for Affordable Housing.

  • When you type "Affordable Housing" into Google, you will find mainly government program websites. If you are a non-profit or developer and offer homes that are affordable to rent, consider taking out Google Ads to attract new renters.

Best state to raise a family has 4,400 monthly searches with no change year over year, but demand decreased in the last three months.

  • The Fed has been raising interest rates aggressively in the last three months which directly affects the ability to buy a home. This indicates that fewer people are considering buying a home and planning a family.

Best cities to live in your 20s has the lowest demand of the keywords we looked into, with only 390 monthly searches. This is a 33% decrease in searches over the last three months.

  • This shows that it is much harder for a young person to strike out on their own, far from where current family and friends live.

The statistics show that most people are concerned about finding an affordable place to live, rather than dreaming about the perfect place to live.

What About Retirees?

Best places to retire has 22,200 monthly searches with a -18% year-over-year change. This means that less people are looking for a best place to retire.

  • If your community wants to attract retirees, understand that the demand is decreasing. On the other hand, 22,000 people searching per month isn’t a terrible number.

Low income senior housing has 14,800 monthly searches with no change in year-over-year. This means that a consistent number of people are looking for low-income senior housing.

  • Digging a bit deeper into senior housing wants, low income senior apartments has 6,600 monthly searches. This could mean that most seniors want to own a home that is affordable, and this could indicate demand for a mobile home community for 55+.

Is your community an affordable place to live?

Do you want to showcase your affordable community? Now is the time for your community leaders to define what your community has to offer, who it wants to attract, and get the word out about your community. Especially if your community has affordable housing options.

First, define your audience - who you want to attract. (I’m not talking about any discriminatory characteristics.) Think about what your community has to offer and then pair it with a type of new resident. Here are some examples:

  • Do your elementary schools need more students? Attracting young families will help fill the schools.
  • Is your community near outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or kayaking – but doesn’t have a lot of available jobs? Consider attracting adventurous young residents who can work remotely. (Assuming your community has decent broadband access.)
  • Does your community have inexpensive places to eat, drink and visit? Perhaps your town has one or more 55+ Manufactured Home Communities? Then retirees could be an attractive new resident.

The main thing is to list what your community has, and what it needs. Then define one or two types of residents that would fit nicely into what your community already has.

Next, create your content. You need a way for people to get more information abut your community. You’ll want a webpage, micro-site or standard website that describes what your community offers. To be memorable, consider developing a catchy name and tag line, with a beautiful logo. Write stories about the local businesses, attractions and secret places that will inspire and engage your audience. Create rack cards, brochures, postcards, stickers or other printed materials. Register social media channels that your audience uses and then produce a social media ad for that platform.

Finally, get the word out. Send your stories to local, regional and national media. Optimize your webpage or website for search opportunities. Add any affordable housing complexes to Google Maps. Showcase what living in your community is like through social media posts asking people to share the posts or giving them a boost if the platform allows. If your community is part of or close to a touristy area, create a rack card and place it in the local hotels, inns, and attractions. (This may mean that it is less affordable).

Caution: Choose a strategy you can be consistent with. Being consistently active with a small amount of media is better then going large and running out of steam. It takes time for a marketing strategy to work. So, if you go big and then stop, you are wasting time and effort.

If your town, city or community is an affordable place to live and you are interested in attracting new residents, 2023 is the perfect time for you to take advantage of the renewed interest in affordable places to live. There are many ways for you to build your community. Start with a bit of planning and then roll out consistent outreach efforts. In time, your community will be attracting new residents, that find your community the perfect place to live.