HBAM calls for bipartisan answer to housing crisis

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The Home Builders Association of Michigan, along with numerous community, economic development and nonprofit housing organizations, submitted a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders asking for a bipartisan policy initiative to address the state’s growing housing crisis.

“We know the governor and leaders in the legislature are facing a number of COVID-related challenges right now, but addressing housing sector issues will be vitally important to the state’s recovery, growth and local tax base in the years ahead,” said Bob Filka, CEO of HBAM. “Home production has been at historic lows for more than a decade in our state, and that lack of production has caught up with us. Even with the pandemic-triggered economic slowdown, housing prices continue to skyrocket in many markets around the state.”

The coalition’s letter noted there are fewer builders, contractors, workers, parcels, operators and capital in today’s housing marketplace, so very few mid- or lower-priced homes are being built. It also stressed there is a disproportionate rate of homeownership by race and income levels across our state, making home appreciation/equity and greater wealth generation out of reach for an increasing number of Michiganders.

“People at many income levels are being impacted by Michigan’s housing shortfalls,” said Sandra Pearson, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. “With limited new construction happening, more and more upper-income households are buying existing homes that mid- or lower-income families have typically purchased in the past. This, in turn, prevents many first-time homebuyers and others from being able to purchase — keeping them in higher-cost rental situations or in unsafe and unhealthy housing.”

The coalition’s recommendations include providing local communities with more tools and resources to attract housing investment, as well as recommendations to withhold state economic development assistance to communities whose policies impede the production of more moderate-priced homes, among others.

Organizations wanting to add their name to the letter can view the recommendations and add their support by going to hbaofmichigan.com/#/housing-call-to-action.

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