Finishing Strong-Looking Ahead to 2018

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By Bob Michels, Housing First Minnesota, bob@bmichels-const.com

2017 was a banner year for housing! As the president of Housing First Minnesota, I am so pleased with our industry’s and our Association’s accomplishments over the past year. Here are a few highlights:

Housing Production Heights

The housing industry was busy, I hope you and your business enjoyed growth! We reached heights in housing production that had not been seen in a nearly a decade. Remodeling was strong throughout the state. This means our trade partners and suppliers were busy as well.

We drive the economy like no other industry – when we are strong, our Minnesota economy is strong.

See page 11 for a review on how we’ve performed this year.

Historic Legislative Session

Housing had its most impactful legislative session in a generation by creating and advancing the Minnesota Homeownership Initiative, a common-sense collection of proposals to encourage homeownership and housing affordability.

Created by the Minnesota Association of Realtors and Housing First Minnesota, the Homeownership Initiative was a major success. New laws on the books include the creation of a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account; jump-starting the condo and townhome market with a much-needed balancing of the construction claim process; requiring that property owners be notified prior to a housing moratorium, and codifying that a home sprinkler mandate does not extend to twin homes. What a session!

Landmark Court Decision in Harstad v. Woodbury

The major victory at the Minnesota Court of Appeals on the Woodbury’s illegal traffic impact fee is a high point for the year and underscores the importance of holding local governments accountable and maintaining affordability. Final stop is the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018. Housing First Minnesota supported Harstad with an amicus brief at the appeals court.

Creation of Project Build Minnesota

Everywhere I’ve been this year, industry members have talked to me about labor and workforce challenges. It is clear that this is among the biggest obstacles facing our industry and it will be facing us for some time. Housing First Minnesota has joined with The Builders Group, Minnesota Builders Exchange, Associated Builders and Contractors and several other organizations to create Project Build Minnesota. This new organization will provide a platform to shift the conversation about jobs in the construction industry.

Housing Industry News

We’ve been so pleased with the positive response to the creation of Housing Industry News, which was launched mid-year 2017. I hope you continue to enjoy the content and I invite you to connect with me or any of the Housing First Minnesota team with feedback or suggestions. None of these accomplishments are possible without strong industry leadership, both from volunteers and from the staffs executing these plans. Thank you to everyone who had a hand in these successes!

As we prepare for an extremely busy 2018, I am reminded how important our work is for the homeowners of Minnesota and our state’s economy. We drive the economy like no other industry and our efforts to address workforce challenges, create greater housing affordability and advance homeownership for Minnesotans are a cause we can all rally round.