Strong Summer for Housing, but Industry Challenges Require Action

By BOB MICHELS, Housing First Minnesota & The Builders Association of the Twin Cities

What a summer! The housing industry is building new homes at a rate not seen in over a decade. The remodeling market is also strong and there are positive economic and demographic indicators which tell us that housing demand from Millennials to Boomers should remain strong for several years.

After years with little good news on the housing front, it is great to see that our industry is performing well. But in spite of the 2017 success, we know that our industry still faces strong headwinds from two major challenges: the labor shortage and the pressure from regulatory costs and requirements.

In virtually every industry conversation that I’ve been a part of in 2017, worries about our labor shortage have been discussed. We know that our workforce is aging and that young people are not entering the housing industry in any numbers. In many schools, technical education, which sparked interest in many of us, is simply no longer part of the curriculum. Over the past decade, the housing crash compounded these underlying problems by blurring the understanding among young people about just how many good-paying careers are available in the housing industry.

Beyond labor, the base price of a home in our state is 25 percent higher than our neighboring states, primarily due to land costs and regulatory requirements at the state and local level. Now, as Millennials begin looking to buy their first homes, affordability is key. Right now we can’t build new homes to fit their budget requirements because
our base-costs are simply too high.

Housing First Minnesota is addressing these issues head-on.

We are able to take on the industry challenges because of the vision of industry leaders to become engaged housing advocates in our state’s political and court systems through strength in numbers. We want to share this vision and our strength with everyone in the state of Minnesota. We want to unite all housing industry members to become engaged in the movement for affordable and durable housing for our neighbors, and we want this to be a political priority for our state.

We look forward to mutual cooperation to build a strong Housing First Minnesota presence throughout our state. Our board and staff are committed, are you?

If you are interested in joining the housing movement, I invite you to subscribe to Housing First Minnesota. For less than $30, you can stay up-to-date on industry news and receive discounted opportunities to engage with elected officials and network with fellow industry leaders.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Housing Industry News and I look forward to having you aboard as a part of the housing movement.

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