NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - This week the Home Builders Association of Michigan held 8 press conferences around Michigan to unveil their new housing initiative and report. Friday morning was their final stop in Negaunee Township, where they detailed the crisis Michigan could soon face due to a housing shortage.
"The building industry has come back and is doing better, but the state as a whole has a housing crisis coming at it if we don't change how we view housing investment in our state," said Bob Filka, the CEO of the Home Builders Association of Michigan.
"This is a wake up call with where we are at with the challenges facing the average hardworking families in Michigan's right to affordable housing," said L.R. Swadley, the President of the Home Builders Association of Michigan.
On average in Michigan over the last 50 years, 28,000 homes were built per year, and though housing has bounced back since the recession, they're only expected to build 16,000 homes this year statewide.
According to the HBA, recovery of the housing industry has slowed significantly over the last decade due to what they believe are policies hampering housing investments.
"It's not just that the builder and developer are not building that $200,000 home you want," said Filka. "There's a reason why, and it's driven by, obviously some market forces, but also local government. Local government has a huge impact on the potential costs of the home you want to buy."
Policies in place by local government include lengthy regulatory delays and requirements that are raising costs.
A severe shortage of skilled workers is also heavily affecting the industry, and the HBA says new laws could help rejuvenate the workforce, especially with the younger generation.
"We want to change some laws related to child labor to allow teenagers to come on out and work on construction work sites and get some experience, obviously under some safety restrictions," said Filka.
Overall, the HBA said they hope to spur innovation locally and get community leaders to make changes. They believe if action is not taken, a shortage of housing stock could be devastating to the future of the U.P. and state as a whole.
The full Home Builders Association of Michigan House Report has been attached to this article.