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Anchorage Needs to Work Together to Create Affordable Housing

AHBA New Construction Blog

Version 2

Nov. 29, 2021

Anchorage Needs to Work Together to Create Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is critical to the health of communities. But with the spike in housing prices, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to afford homes. While the uptick in new construction projects is viewed as good news, it’s only helpful if people can afford to buy these homes. However, a new report says that most Americans are being priced out of new construction. This is because wages can’t compete with rising costs.

The rising price of new construction is a complicated formula that includes lack of land, the cost and availability of building materials, and building regulations that slow the process. It’s in the building industry’s best interest to be able to build homes at a wide range of price points. This is why our industry pushes for every possible cost savings, no matter how trivial it may seem to the general public. For example, the proposed changes to Title 21 and Title 23 that are working their way through the Boards and Commissions and before moving on to the Anchorage Assembly, could help lower prices by removing unnecessary barriers to the process.

The Anchorage Home Building Association takes safety very seriously. We would never want regulations in place that could cause unnecessary risk. However, at times, regulations cause delays and unnecessary expenses. Minor adjustments to the standard of new homes, buildings and infrastructure developments that lower costs are changes that our community should make.

Making housing more affordable helps solve our larger problems of petty crime and homelessness. People struggle when they can’t afford the necessities. The homebuilding industry creates jobs and puts people into homes. Both the public and private sectors are an important part of the solution.

It’s no secret that the supply chain is creating major headaches right now. People are waiting months for materials like cabinets, appliances and garage doors. Some supplies aren’t available at all like phone jacks, nail on light boxes (non-gasket), single gang gasket boxes, and several types of amp meter bases and transfer switches. The lack of available supplies slows and even stalls the homebuilding process and tacks on additional costs.

Any steps we can take right now to make the building process more efficient and affordable should be taken. So, when it comes to government oversight adding additional hurdles and delays, we should work on solutions. Third-party reviews are often faster and more efficient. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” is a saying that illustrates this issue. Adding units to our housing stock, at any price, is an opportunity to create less demand and open up opportunities. Together, we can focus on finding the right solutions for Anchorage.

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