(KLST/KSAN)– Home builders are struggling to meet the housing demands here in San Angelo.
“There was a housing study that was done in 2019 that said we were going to need nearly 3,700 homes in the next two years and I don’t think they were wrong,” Kristen Oliver, Executive Officer of Home Builders Association of San Angelo, said.
Oliver said since the study, even more people have moved to San Angelo.
“I think that was an effect of COVID, everybody decided you know what, you can nearly work from anywhere and people love San Angelo,” Oliver said. “People want to be here.”
But there aren’t enough homes. Oliver said the San Angelo Home Builders Association’s goal is to provide affordable housing. Now that’s become nearly impossible due to inflation. She said the price of lumber has spiked, which in turn, has made it hard to build affordable homes.
“Over the last four months we have seen lumber triple again, which is adding about $18,600 to the average cost of a home,” Oliver said. “So right now, at a national level, we are really trying to get the administration to drop those tariffs because it’s really hurting the home builders.”
That’s not the only setback. With lack of interest in the industry and a good majority retiring, there has been a decline in the trade. “It’s a 3 to 1 so for every three people that are retiring one is coming back in and the average age of a worker right now is 65 years old so it’s a big issue right now,” Oliver said.
Oliver says the company has teamed up with Howard College to create a construction trade school in hopes of giving local students a chance to learn the trade.
“We have also been working with the city too. We have been able to get a new ordinance that’s fixing to be passed that will not require sidewalks in new construction so that’s going to save new home owners thousands of dollars coming down the road,” Oliver said.
Oliver said for anyone looking to build a home, now is the time.
“You know they are working as fast as they can but there are so many outside factors that are effecting just the time that it’s taking to build and like i said, time is money when you are building a home so be able to just be expecting that,” Oliver said.