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Home builders are warning of a housing crisis, despite busy start to year

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 06:02:29-05

Home construction is off to a booming start in Michigan this year.

Permits for single-family home builds are up 40% compared to January 2019.

Builders have been way busier this year but are still down compared to 2017 and 2018 and the Home Builders Association of Michigan is warning about what they say is a housing crisis.

“We’re on fire, we're building a lot of homes. A lot of buyers are buying homes,” John Bitely said.

Bitely is the president of West Michigan based Sable Homes, a top 250 home builder in the nation, on pace for a great 2020.

On a subdivision in Algoma Township, they are building close to a dozen homes and they’re filling up with people.

“Only one of them is available everything else is sold or and then we also have orders for four more to put in the ground for people waiting for them.” Bitely added.

So what’s the issue?

“There's a real shortage and it's getting worse. The public really hasn't felt the impact of that yet,” Bitely said.

Bitely and The Home Builders Association of Michigan say a shortage of buildable lots and burdensome regulations are making things difficult.

“It takes probably three years to get through all the bureaucracy, to get a neighborhood like this approved,” he explained.

He says many local municipalities make it even harder to build affordable homes.

“We’re one of most affordable builders in all West Michigan and we struggled to produce a house on a lot for $200,000. It's a three-bedroom two-bath home It is a nice home and it's part of it, we just can't get lots from municipalities to let us build them,” Bitely explained.

But with working together they believe they can start to address the growing issue by working together.

“I’m not going to say everybody because there are some places that are willing to work and try and get stuff done. But as a majority, most of the municipalities, and so on.”

“They want what they want, and we either figure out a way to give them that and they quite often push for higher priced homes they don't really care that much if working class America has an affordable home,” he added.