The cost of living has increased in the past two decades. The earned dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used too. Buying a home in many cities is out of reach for the average American. Rent has also been steadily climbing across most metros. It seems like people’s voices have been heard. Homebuilders and lawmakers alike are working to make homes more affordable whether they are for sale or for rent. Technological and design advances also offer more options on how to better accommodate residents within their incomes.
Major homebuilders are changing course to build more affordable housing for first-time homebuyers getting ready to enter the market. Many have vowed to make more affordable homes available instead of the more luxurious homes they have been building over the past decade. Homebuilders have felt a change in the pattern of first time home buying significantly and are now eager to make homes for the wave of millennials ready to buy their first homes. Big builders including KB Home and D.R. Horton are leading the charge with the new change in focus after millennial buyers threw them for a loop. Traditionally, first-time homebuyers have fueled new home purchases. But lately, the market has been supported by move-up buyers or those “moving-up” from their starter homes. Before this first-time homebuyers purchased new homes at much higher rates than move-up buyers. But millennials have had their own agenda. They waited longer to make sure they were financially ready to buy a home. On average the group delayed buying homes by about 10 years compared to past generations of first-time homebuyers. Now they are ready to buy and homebuilders want to accommodate them.
Governments are also seeing the need to help create more affordable housing. Lawmakers in Sacramento are working on bills to cap high rent and allow for more affordable housing to be built. In Charlotte, N.C. the City Council is voting on a number of new affordable housing projects. Washington D.C., known as one of the countries most expensive areas to live in, has set a goal of adding 12,000 affordable homes to the area. Portland, Washington has already added 339 affordable apartments since passing an affordable housing bond 8 months ago. These are just some of the cities and counties working toward.
Technological and Design Advances
Another exciting prospect for future affordable homes lies with 3D printing. Yes, you read that right, 3D printing! A company called Icon is reimagining the homebuilding process by using 3D printing technology to build affordable housing. In March of 2018 Icon built the first 3D-printed home as a proof of concept.
Another exciting and maybe more within reach affordable housing concept comes from the Disruptive Design challenge. The Chicago Housing Policy Task Force invited competitors to participate in Disruptive Design to find solutions to address challenges associated with creating affordable housing. This innovative project seeks to offer affordable home solutions beyond just tiny homes. The goal was to create residences with sustainable materials and methods with accessibility in mind that cost less than $300,000 to build. Greg Tamborino’s winning design, called Adaptable House, is meant to grow with first-time buyers allowing them space to start a family or use part of the home to generate income.
With the cost of living rising over the past 20 years, it’s about time housing becomes more affordable. With attention from homebuilders, government bodies, and bright minds working toward technological advances, it seems that change is likely to be around the corner. Hopefully, more affordable housing will become a reality sooner rather than later for the many Americans who need it.