View the Housing Dialogue Final Report


PORTSMOUTH LISTENS is currently hosting a series of deliberative dialogs around housing in Portsmouth. Our framing question is:

How can housing – linked to every aspect of our community – make Portsmouth the best place to live, work and play for everyone?

Where we live (the location of our home as well as its design) has a direct impact on our quality of life. It determines where our kids go to school, who our neighbors are, how we get to our jobs and more. On the other hand, if it is too small or too big, or if it costs too much to pay for, or if it is not all on one floor and we are in a wheelchair, or if we do not drive and where we live is not walkable to anywhere or close to transportation, it might make life challenging.

Groups are convening for two hours once a week for three sessions. Guided by a facilitator, each group is exploring:

  • What is our community vision for quality of life in Portsmouth?
  • How does and can “housing” contribute to that?
  • What challenges are there to achieving this?
  • Will the proposed zoning changes (in the ordinance currently with the Planning Board and City Council) help achieve the vision?
  • What other suggestions/proposals does the group have (related to where homes are located and how they are designed) to achieve the vision?

Each group will write a report that will be shared with other groups, with the City Council and published in the Portsmouth Herald.


  • Kickoff October 5: Completed
  • Session One: Week of October 9: Completed
  • Session Two: Week of October 16: Completed
Monday, October 16 (Maria Sillari) Seyboldt building (the old building to the right of the City Hall main entrance) – Finance Conference room*
Tuesday, October 17 (Jeffrey Cooper) Seyboldt building (the old building to the right of the City Hall main entrance) – Finance Conference room*
Wednesday, October 18 (Gregg Spaulding)
– Morning AND Evening Sessions
Seyboldt building (the old building to the right of the City Hall main entrance) – Finance Conference room*
Thursday, October 19 (Skye Maher) Portsmouth City Hall, Conference Room A

**Finance Conference Room: Go in the main door of the Seyboldt building and go up the stairs to the second floor. Conference room is straight ahead. OR , if you go in the main door of the City Hall, turn right and keep going down the hall until you are at the main entrance to that building, and go up the stairs (I believe it is the third stairway on the right)

October 26 – All groups meet with City Councilors and candidates to discuss what they are learning and thinking.

Portsmouth Middle School
Arrive by 6:50, timed discussions begin at 7

Session Three (WEEK OF OCTOBER 30):

Monday, October 30 UPDATE – November 8 in Conference Room A from 7 – 9.
Tuesday, October 31 Portsmouth City Hall, Conference Room A – Time change 5 – 7 PM
Wednesday Morning, November 1 Portsmouth City Hall, Conference Room A
Wednesday Evening, November 1 Portsmouth City Hall, Conference Room A
Thursday, November 2 City Hall, SCHOOL DEPARTMENT ROOM (go in Main Entrance, turn right)

Week of November 13 (date and time to be confirmed): group report-outs

It may still be possible to join a group (any but Monday) the week of October 16 – please contact if you are interested.

Housing Database Links

Below you will find a list of links with relevant information as it pertains to the Housing Dialogue.

City of Portsmouth Housing Links

New Hampshire Housing Authority Links

  • HMFA Purchase and Rent Information –Attached is purchase and rent information from the New Hampshire Housing Authority. HMFA*  = (Fair Market Rent Area). The reason for the latter is that housing is part of a regional economy.Purchase price information is for primary home sales and excluded seasonal or second home sales as well as land sales. The rent data does not include any subsidized housing or vacation/seasonal rental. The reason for this is to look at the market that would be available to those wishing to live in the area.Vacancy rates are extremely low. Generally the 7% range is considered a balanced market. Part of the reason is high demand based and lack of new supply. Rental production has only recently picked up in many places and demand has propelled those prices high. Assign supply can alleviate some of this but without further land use tools most new rental production will be out of reach for moderate income households.*Portsmouth-Rochester HMFA consists of the towns & cities of: Barrington, Brentwood, Dover, Durham, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Farmington, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, New Castle, New Durham, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Rochester, Rollinsford, Rye, Somersworth, Strafford, Stratham.
  • New Hampshire Housing – Studies, Publications and Presentations – This link points to a number of publications. As you land on this web page you will see several links. They are:
    1.  Residential Rent Cost Survey. Annual survey.2.  Housing Market Updates: This link is a collection of our housing market updates which talk more broadly about housing and the economy in NH. The latest one is March 2017.3.  Housing Needs in NH is a study commissioned in 2014 that looks at the demographics of our state and the needs and preferences of selected groups in NH. There is an executive summary as well as the full report in three sections.4.  Commission on Housing Policy Regulation. In 2013, the New Hampshire Legislature established the Commission on Housing Policy and Regulation. Its purpose was to identify and reduce legislative and administrative barriers to the creation of affordable housing and to encourage its development, including possible incentives to build such housing, in order to maintain safe, healthy, and diverse communities for all residents of New Hampshire.5.  Housing and School Enrollment. Often when talking about affordable housing there is concern that our schools will become overpopulated with children. Many believe that 2 or 3 children come from each household. Several studies have looked at the reality of this. The number is far less. This study was done three times.
  • New Hampshire Housing – Housing Solutions Handbook – The Housing Solutions Handbook which talks about ways to create diverse housing in your community. Scroll to the bottom to view it by section or in its entirety.
  • New Hampshire Housing – HUD Limits

Portsmouth Smart Growth for the 21st Century Links

Articles From Around the Web On Housing Affordability

Other Important Housing Links