By Steven Schnell, Charlevoix County Housing Ready Program Director, Housing North
A lot has changed in the housing market in the last 10 years and the rate of change has only increased during the economic uncertainty of Covid-19. One thing we can say for sure is that it has never been more important to have a safe, healthy, stable home. The challenges for many people in achieving that goal have increased overall. On the positive side of the housing story, interest rates are at historic lows, mortgage applications are 33% higher, and refinancing applications are 111% higher. However, the supply of housing is not keeping up with the demand. This drives home prices up at a time when many have lost their jobs.
Eventually, with housing demand vastly exceeding supply, home prices will continue to rise beyond the reach of our workforce. To have economic growth we need healthy, stable homes. There are ways to help make homes more attainable, but local investment is needed. There are non-profit and government entities that are working together to make more housing available by investing in housing development. These community partnerships include business leaders and civic organizations. All must work together and take action to create more housing opportunities. This will require time and money invested in this effort. We will highlight these housing tools in the coming months. Many of these tools are listed at Homesforourfuture.org. If you want to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.