On the market for solutions
Lakes Country Association of Realtors bands together to fight for affordable housing
Local realtors are stepping up and doing their part to ease the area's housing crisis and make the lakes area a more enticing, enjoyable place to live.
Amber Bender, president of Lakes Country Association of Realtors (LCAR), says the local association has been keeping tabs on legislation that will directly impact not only statewide housing but the housing market right in Becker County. Association members also have a plans to spruce up the area to attract buyers to lakes country.
On Monday, representatives from LCAR attended the annual Housing Day at the Capitol, an event that gathered 320 attendees and 156 legislators to discuss key issues that impact the Minnesota housing industry. Bender says she, along with LCAR President Elect Alexis Peters and LCAR Association Executive Kari Sahr, were able to meet with Representative Steve Green and Senator Paul Utke to discuss real estate and housing issues specific to the lakes area they serve as realtors.
"We just talked about some of the key issues, not just in the state but in our market. Affordable housing is huge .... Building expenses in Minnesota have skyrocketed...because of all the different regulations that are in place," said Bender.
According to some of the statistics discussed at the event, by virtually every measure, newly built homes in Minnesota cost more than comparable houses in all other Midwestern markets. Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis and Nashville markets all build between 50 percent and 80 percent of new homes at $325,000 or less. By comparison, the Minnesota region builds less than a third of its homes at $325,000 or less. Then, up to a third of a new home's price in the Minnesota region is due to regulation costs.
These prices greatly reduce housing options for middle class families and make finding affordable housing in communities extremely difficult. Often, families are forced to make other economic sacrifices to be able to afford living in the community of their choice.
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