As demand for housing continues to grow in West Michigan, Sable Homes, which is ranked as one of the region’s top-three home builders and top 250 nationally, expects inventory shortages to continue through 2020 for homes in the $200,000 -$300,000 range. Additionally, the Rockford, Michigan-based home builder plans to broaden its territory, despite regulatory restrictions that have been put in place by some local communities.
Throughout the past five years, the Rockford-based home builder has expanded its geographic area to provide housing needs in new communities, including Byron Center, Newaygo, and Tri-County. From Kent City in northern Kent County to Wayland in northern Allegan County, Sable Homes has served West Michigan communities representing 20 public school districts from 2015 to 2019.
Caledonia and Cedar Springs school districts were Sable Homes’ top two areas for new home construction in 2019, comprising 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of its 111 new homes constructed for the year, a 9 percent increase over 2018.
“For the past few years, Sable Homes has strived to build on lots in school district communities where potential home buyers are choosing to live,” Sable Homes President John Bitely said. “Not just in Caledonia and Cedar Springs, but we’re seeing an uptick in new home construction in Sparta, Newaygo and Coopersville. These are desirable communities where we can provide quality homes for people of all walks of life.”
Bitely also noted that many communities are faced with residents opposing new developments in their communities, including those who push for “Not In My Backyard” changes. Additionally, local zoning restrictions have made it difficult to develop neighborhoods in some of the region’s desired communities.
Anticipating that the local housing market will continue to thrive throughout 2020 even with a shortage of lots and the large costs that are being incurred to develop, Bitely explained that working class Americans are being impacted the most as consumers are being forced to pay increased costs.
“There will always be a need for quality, affordable homes and unless consumers demand that local governments reduce restrictions and encourage new neighborhoods, the region will continue to see an imbalance between supply and demand in the $200,000 -$300,000 price range,” he said. “We’re going into 2020 with a strong community base, building on neighborhood lots that are not only desirable, but are more affordable than our competitors.”
In late 2019, a National Association of Home Builders Housing Trends Report revealed the percentage of prospective home buyers for the upcoming year is comparable to 2018’s projections of 13 percent.
Sixty percent of these home buyers will be purchasing a home for the first time, according to NAHB. Of the nation’s four home-buying generations – Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z – Millennials are most likely to be making plans to purchase a home within a year at 20 percent; followed by Gen X at 12 percent; and Gen Z at 11 percent. Only 6 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 73) reported plans to purchase a home, according to NAHB.
According to the NAHB, every 100 new single-family homes built within a specific region can generate up to $28.7 million to the local economy while creating nearly 400 jobs – a statistic that Bitely monitors closely.
“We are proud that our work contributes to the overall well being of the local economy,” said Bitely. “Our numbers track pretty close to the national average when considering the total number of homes built by Sable.”