What is an "Affordable Home" anyway? It can be defined by the average price of a home in your community, it could be defined from the buyer's income history, or it could be defined by the cost of ownership.
My company, Metcon Spaces, has been in talks with one of our esteemed colleages here in the rain, to be one of the builders for their altruistic endeavor of Monte Dei Globe by our one and only BrianEngland.
Metcon Spaces is a modular container home builder and are in the running to be a builder for MDG. He and his parter Tess have raised some important questions during their visit. Are homeless people just people in need of housing? Are they in need of counseling? Are they in need of health treatment? But it goes beyond that.
I was reading the Summer 2023 REALTOR magazine article this week, Bold Action Needed on the discepency between buyers being able to buy and builders being able to build, with respest to supply chain dynamics. In short, first time home buyers, in particuar being on the lower end, are priced out. The price of materials is one thing, but the larger issue is land and regulations.
As a builder I can attest to these issues first hand. Its a political issue really. Developers need land to build but the price of land is increasing. In San Antonio, we are sprawling out now as far as 40 minutes away from downtown. When you factor in traffic, it seems to be an hour to an hour and a half to get to and from work. Compared to LAX, that's nothing, but this isn't LAX. It's supposed to be cheap to live in Texas. We are a tertiary market so should be even cheaper than DAL, HOU, or AUS. But we are catching up at an average price of $397,319 as of last week. When the average wage here is $25/hour, you can't afford $4,000/mo PITI. If they work 40 hours a week, for 50 weeks a year, with no time off, that's $4,166/mo pre-tax. It's impossible!
Cities have programs, incentives, for developers but they are dwindling. The "have nots" cry about the developers getting tax payer dollars to build new homes. Politicians, aka city counsel, then backs down. To make matters worse, the people who live in economically challenged areas vote out the rights of builders to increase density. Okay folks, so if land is increasing in price, and density cannot be increased, and materials and services are going up in price, how then shall builders/ developers provide "affordable housing?" Builders are just business people who are investing and without profit they won't do it. No matter how you slice it, it isn't going to happen. Hence, homelessness.
Homeless doesn't mean you are on drugs, are off your rocker, or jobless. It means that you cannot afford to buy a home or rent a home.
The article also addresses the financing issues, and that the system is geared towards long time home ownership and people who have not been challenged by divorce, illness, or disasters. There is no credit or merit given towards utility bills, on time rent, or lease payments on vehicles. These factors too are being considered for change.
Let's just take a few minutes to think about how our ways of thinking negatively impacts those who could be home owners but cannot, due to that thinking. What can we do to make things better? Talk is cheap. What action steps can we take?
I'm excited to hear how you can be a positive, constructive citizen.