The recent economic turnabout has led to an even more noticeable increase in the demand for housing in the US. There has been a longstanding issue of homelessness and a stark lack of sufficient housing for people in every single State, yet the demand only appears to be rising. While there has been a fall in people having children, there are still millions of people out there stuck without a place to call their own, and this has to change. Having somewhere to live is a basic human right and a major security blanket too for both physical and mental comfort considerations, so what can be done?
1The Housing Market: What’s the Situation?
There have been defined patterns of movement since the pandemic crisis hit the world. Everything came to a standstill, and construction and the housing market were both feeling the effects in similar ways. In lots of places, people were prohibited from moving house at all so there was no movement and an inevitable crash. There have been minor fluctuations and improvements since the world returned to (almost) normal, and things do seem to be on the rise in terms of housing prices. However, housing conditions are still undesirable in a lot of areas, especially for low-band renters and even those in social housing or care homes. We should also spare a thought for first-time buyers as people trying to break into a market that is not designed or equipped to handle them. There is still a noticeable need for more homes to be built alongside other economic considerations to tackle high mortgage rates, homelessness, and access to property ownership.
2Building More Homes: What Are the Barriers?
It is useful to understand the barriers to building more homes that are slowly improving as time moves on from Covid-19 and all the repercussions. Though there is a pressing need and demand, the delivery is still slow and there are some apparent reasons why this is still happening.
Cost of Construction
The cost of construction is one consideration. With everything going on in the world combined with industries attempting to bounce back to normal after pandemic life, it has been brutal. The war being raged against Ukraine is a considerable influence in terms of sourcing materials and raw resources that are needed to power construction equipment too, and this continues to impact the ability of the construction crews out there to deliver on projects efficiently. The rise in costs is apparent, and it is not an object that can be bypassed easily. There has been a rise, for example, in companies that can no longer afford to keep on providing these essential services.
Sufficient Land Space
Another point worth mentioning is the lack of land that is suitable for building homes. While there are a lot of areas out there that could be used for new homes, there is never enough to match the demand. So, output is slow, and this will continue to be a problem as the population rises and issues are left unresolved.
As mentioned above, there are also global political issues pushing the housing deficit too. Things like the ongoing wars and lack of access to essential resources are major contributory factors in the slowing down of home building. Other things like stretched government budgets, country debt and reparations, more pressing issues, and general political turmoil take center stage above the issue of housing. Housing often gets pushed to the side and dismissed as relevant when it should be at the forefront of the discussion. While there are ongoing policies in the works, they’re not being put into action anywhere near quickly enough.
Other Areas Taking Up Funding and Time
These stretched focuses mean housing is not at the top of the agenda, whereas it absolutely should be, and this has led to a decline in what is available and who can actually access housing too. There has been a clear gap in the narrative about housing needs, and it is nothing new. With budgets already stretched thin, and more pressing issues being handled first, finding people suitable places to live and handling rising mortgage rates is just not happening.
3Where the Focus Should Lie
So, considering all the above barriers, where should the focus lie for sorting out this ever-present housing crisis? It’s easy to put it on paper, but there must be a major call to action from the authorities and powers that be to actually impact it too. Here are some big areas that could be improved.
Investing in Construction Industries
Of all the industries in need of a little funding injection, construction is one of the biggest. There are lots of successful presences in this industry that have proven their efficacy like https://koehncs.com, This is amazing because it shows that there is still growth in construction and real, tangible outputs as well that are creating innovative solutions for home building and general construction too. However, there is always room for more investment from both private and public bodies to ensure that this efficacy is truly long-lasting. Construction can only survive if there is a need for building, after all.
Recruitment is another factor at play. There has been a decline here and there for manual labor, and this can’t ever be ignored. Finding people who are passionate about these industries is a task for government as well as independent bodies too, and it could very easily be featured as a bigger option within the educational system alongside core skills like English and Math. If people are made more aware about the various routes of access and given direct doors through, recruiting fresh talent will be all that much easier.
Skill building is essential, and one of the most relevant things to keep working on too. There are always innovations in housing and construction, and a company that doesn’t know how to access or embrace them is likely to fall behind the curve and not be able to deliver on what is the most relevant. Smart homes, for instance, are the most sustainable thing out there and new-build projects will do well to tailor their designs towards this eco-focused initiative.
Alongside these core considerations, there is a need for landlord reforms to take place more rapidly. The condition of so many rental properties is called into question in terms of both viability and affordability. Living standards for tenants have decreased, and it’s only been made worse throughout the pandemic and in the years after. The costs are rising, the properties are getting worse, and accessing them is infinitely more difficult if factors like adverse credit and pets are thrown into the mix. Yet, people all over the world are trapped in rental properties because of all these things and more are struggling to raise the funds and prove viability for mortgages to buy their own housing.
Access to Mortgages For New Buyers
This leads to making mortgages more accessible and finding ways to make this happen quickly. It is more difficult than ever to secure a mortgage offer, and people are suffering because of this fact. There are changes that can be made, like focusing on positive rental history and an increase in guarantor-style schemes too.
4What the Future May Look Like for the Housing and Construction Industries
What do all these factors add up to when it comes to how the future may look for housing and construction? It is a big question and there is no real way to predict what might be in the years to come. However, there are a few projections that seem likely.
More People Building Their Own Homes
There has been a definite increase in people looking to build their own houses. While they still use construction services, this means there is less scope for things like big-scale housing build projects.
Rise in Homelessness
The rate of homeless people per state is already a big problem, but without reform in the key things behind it, this problem will never get better. That means there may yet be an increase in these figures.
Housing Market Crash Potential
The housing market very nearly crashed significantly during the pandemic. The aftermath saw a bit of a return to normal, and there has been a substantial increase in things like housing prices that is making homes inaccessible to the average buyer. However, things could go even further and crash again if left unchecked. It could also go the other way and keep on rising too.
The fact is, there will always be a deficit in housing vs number of people needing one if policies don’t change. The focus is clear, and it should center around improving existing properties, repurposing land, building new homes, and injecting investment into the construction industry to keep all the projects fully viable. Every state suffers a crisis in people without a home, and something has to shift in order to protect residents and improve living standards. This basic human right is not universally accessible, but there are ways forward, nevertheless.