The HBA’s third regional Housing Conference was chock full of exclusive information that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere – especially not all under one roof in a few hours. Some of the most important “takeaways” from the HBA’s assembled experts are below.
Ryan Mooney, Springfield Business Development Corporation
Mooney provided an overview of the metro-area’s employment and job creation – and that picture is positive overall. Springfield was ranked among the top three cities for job growth and unemployment dropped below 7% in January of this year.
Edsel Charles, MarketGraphics® Research Group
Based on actual categorical counts of permits and residential building in progress in a 6-county area, Charles presented information indicating that confirms most areas have hit the bottom. Based on a highly conservative model MarketGraphics® developed that combines start with projected closing data, Charles shared data that demonstrated within eight months there will not be enough homes to meet demand in various price points and geographic areas here. (For more information about obtaining the full MarketGraphics® data for the 6-county area including Greene and Christian counties, contact Matt Morrow at 881-3711.)
Joe Zanola, Zanola Company & Panelists
We are fortunate to live in an area that is still projected to grow at a healthy rate over the next 5 to 10 years. But in terms of home building, there are important demographic characteristics of the population that builders and other industry professionals must accommodate if they want to build/sell homes well-suited for the people who will be living here. Our population growth will be the greatest in those over age 55 and the significant majority of households will be comprised of one or two people. The home for that population probably looks very different from what was being built here over the past decade. Zanola and his panelists discussed the different ways in which industry professionals can partner to address the needs of our shifting population successfully.
Dr. Mark Ellickson, Opinion Research Specialists – Housing Market Survey Results
In 2008, Ellickson’s firm conducted a housing survey for the HBA and in 2012, another survey demonstrates the evolution of residents’ attitudes, perceptions and plans related to housing. Some of the most notable results included:
- In 2012, 88% of residents said Home Mortgage rates are LOW, compared with 49% in 2008;
- In 2012, 16% of residents said they anticipate buying a home in the next five years, down from 25% in 2008; those who said they anticipate buying a new home more than five years from now stayed the same at 15%;
- The top two most important factors in buying a home flip flopped from 2008 to 2012 – in 2012 the most important factor in buying a new home was price and second was neighborhood/location. In 2008, neighborhood was most important with price second most important;
- More than half those surveyed in 2008 and 2012 said they would likely ask who built the home before purchasing it. Fewer of those surveyed in 2012 said they would be willing to function as their own contractor (falling from 32% in 2008 to 23% in 2012);
- Awareness of the HBA is outstanding – more than 90% of those surveyed had heard of it and 70% of those had a favorable opinion of it.
An excellent “compliance-oriented” panel including Ron Carrier from the Missouri Attorney General’s office, Rep. Kevin Elmer (District 141) and Dan Wadlington of Senator Roy Blunt’s office provided insight and updates regarding state and federal programs, policies and legislation with a potential impact on the industry.
HBA CEO Matt Morrow unveiled a new web tool the association has developed called LookB4UBuild.
“Since home building is so important to the overall economy, controlling unnecessary costs in the building process is vitally important,” said Morrow. “Of the four components that go into calculating the final price of a new home (land, labor, materials, and governmental regulatory costs), governmental costs are far and away the most rapidly increasing segment of the overall home cost. In fact, many of those costs are incurred before any work is done on the house.”
The tool is designed to help homebuyers and builders compare and contrast the widely varied local costs incurred before the construction process begins. Visitors to lookb4ubuild.com can compare and contrast the various fees and inspection processes in more than 60 city and county governments throughout the association’s ten-county service area in southwest Missouri.