Last week, Michigan made the front page of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) when the news outlet spotlighted the housing crisis now impacting Grand Rapids – just an hour from Lansing. It also emphasized something Michigan homebuilders have cautioned since 2017: historically low levels of new home construction that very well could lead to a housing shortage of crisis proportions in areas across Michigan.
At its peak, Michigan’s residential building industry contributed more than $3.3 billion yearly in local and state taxes, which produced almost $10 billion in income. The boon helped to provide more than 153,000 jobs.
Today, even though the demand for housing and renovation services continues to grow, the industry is less than half of that size. The WSJ report included interviews with several people connected to the homebuilding industry, not only in West Michigan but in other states that are experiencing their lowest level in home construction per household in 60 years.
Bob Filka, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) agrees with the report.
“The Wall Street Journal report supports the conclusions that we highlighted in our own report on Michigan’s homebuilding industry last summer,” said Filka. “The demand from consumers is there, but the combination of a chronic shortage of skilled labor, inconsistent and often burdensome government regulations, a shortage of land and rising costs are hampering our ability to construct new homes, particularly in the lower price point range desired by first or even second-time home buyers.”
Visit HBAofMichigan.com to download HBAM’s proposed 13-point action plan to combat the challenges faced by the homebuilding industry: “Housing Challenges Threaten Our Economic Growth — Where Will Ten Million Michiganders Live?”