Housing Affordability Part 2: How Sable Homes is taking proactive steps to bridge the affordability gap

As a West Michigan home builder, Sable Homes sees the housing affordability gap continue to widen throughout the region.

Part 1 of our blog regarding housing affordability touched upon data released last month by the National Association of Home Builders, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development illustrating a “mismatch between the actual prices of new homes and the prices buyers expect to pay — providing further evidence for the growing problem of housing affordability.”

NAHB tabulation of the data shows that the median sales price of single-family homes started in 2018 was under $322,000. Nearly 73 percent of the homes were priced between $250,000 and $1 million; while 3 percent were under $150,000. There were no homes under $100,000.

According to NAHB’s “What Home Buyers Really Want” 2019 edition — based on a 2018 survey of approximately 4,000 recent and prospective buyers — the median price buyers expect to pay for a home is about $254,000. Fewer than half expect to pay $250,000 to $1 million, while 27 percent are looking to pay less than $150,000, and 12 percent want to pay under $100,000.

Several factors of this “mismatch” come into play, including ongoing lot shortages and an increased cost of materials. While many home builders are scrambling to produce new homes at lower price ranges, Sable Homes has taken proactive steps in order to build homes that the average West Michigan family can afford, such as:

• Building high efficiency homes allowing for lower overall energy costs for homeowners

• Partnering with Kent Career Technical Center and the Home Builders Association to provide job opportunities for skilled-trades students

• Using energy efficient framing practices to reduce thermal bridging and allow more space for insulation while reducing lumber and materials waste

• Purchased lots from the Kent County Land Bank Authority, local governments, and financial institutions to turn abandoned lots into respectable family homes

• Advocating for inclusive development and zoning regulations with local governing agencies

• Partnering with suppliers to increase contract lengths for material pricing to avoid sudden price increases

• Reducing costs associated with onsite waste

• Advocating for changes to costly permits and local government regulations on development

“A fancy high-priced house is not what the majority of our local workforce can afford when looking for a home these days,” said Sable Homes President John Bitely. “At Sable Homes, we continuously fight behind-the-scenes for fair housing requirements and regulatory costs to provide West Michigan home buyers a well-built, affordable home that is also sustainable.” Sable Homes provides the most Value in a new home of any local builder.

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