New Housing
Posted by Chad Collins (+138) 17 years ago
Why is it that there seems to be a strong residential resale market yet there is no new building going on? I am relatively new to MC, but this I haven't been able to figure out. The options for a potential homebuyer are either a 50's model, a 60's model or a 70's; some remodeled, some needing it. Construction always creates jobs...which creates money...which creates more building, etc.
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3669) 17 years ago
Chad, from the standpoint of a developer, the profit is in repetability and rapid turn around on investment. To maximize the profit potential, sub division with homes built using similar floor plans in the same, marketable, price range are the traditional method. Other bonus's that developers look for are Cities that will provide tax breaks for new construction or are willing to provide some of the infrastructure to support the new development.

Given all the above, two important parts of the equation are still missing, a growing populace (Our population has been static for the last several decades) or a reason for the populace to migrate from one part of the city to another. Normally, that would be the "new factory" or whatever would cause a person to change his commute. There is more but I hope I have answered your question.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11610) 17 years ago
There are also OLD houses, which often need remodeling but provide charm, history, and quality of construction not found in a ticky tacky McMansion or other new buildings. Today's buildings are 20 year buildings. Witness the dorm recently torn down at MCC. Yesterday's buildings were built to last at least 100 years from the get go. So many of us LIKE the choices.

Plus, our population peaked before WWI and has been relatively stable ever since. We are less dense than before WWII but there aren't that many more of us. So, there isn't a whole lot of point in new development.

And the last time there were a bunch of spec homes and new subdivisions was the late seventies, just before the economy took a huge nosedive. Some folks round here have long enough memories to recall that debacle and don't care to repeat it.

Amorette
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Posted by Chad Collins (+138) 17 years ago
Tucker,
I agree with your analysis of the generalities regarding housing development, however, my question was not directed toward the feasibility of a large, sprawling subdivision but more toward the reason that there are no alternatives for a median income family (or single person) with regard to a home purchase. I would certainly think that if an option were available, many folks would opt to own a new home versus a home built 30 years ago (although older homes do have their benefits, as Amorette pointed out).
Without being a real estate expert, it sure seems that there are a large number of homes being sold in this market (just look at the "sale pending" list on the various realty websites in town). With that being the case, why hasn't someone built a few median-priced new houses to compete with the existing home resale market? Is there lack of potential personnel? (All I hear around here is the lack of jobs). Is it the lack of potential buyers? Is it the inflated cost of materials due to our seclusion? Like Amorette stated, it has been twenty-some years since new homes (obviously there's been some) were built here! That seems very unhealthy to any economy, even in Miles City.

Amorette, I also agree with your view on OLD homes (built in the early 1900's) but the homes I think most people buy are the "tract" homes or McMansions of the 60's and 70's. Regardless of the "charm and fun" of remodeling one of these homes, there have been significant technological advances in efficiency, etc. that will never exist in them that do exist in a new home. Not to mention the costs of the actual remodel, which in many cases probably exceeds the purchase price. And finally, there is a certain exhilaration in walking through(not to mention owning) a brand new, never-been-lived-in house. It just seems a shame that many people around here will never be able to experience that feeling; or should I say, they will have to LEAVE to do so.
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Posted by David Schott (+16723) 17 years ago
There have been some new homes built in the last decade. Not a lot, but some. It seems like most of these homes were "built-to-order" for the homeowner rather than being built on speculation. A homebuyer could locate a lot and build a new home if a new home is their goal.

I think that many of the older homes that are being sold are smaller in square footage and garage space than a typical new home would be. I don't think developers are likely to build a new home comparable in size to the older homes... instead they would build bigger and fancier. The end result is the new home is considerably more expensive than the older home. And if you're developing in a new area which requires bringing in utility services and building the streets, storm drains, curb, gutter, sidewalk, etc. that is very expensive and has to be passed on to the homebuyer. The end result is that it is probably pretty risky business to develop new homes on speculation when there are so many less expensive older homes on the market and the average Miles City homebuyer isn't particularly deep pocketed.

I think what you really need to drive the construction of new homes in Miles City is a lack of supply to meet the demand. That doesn't exist today.

- Dave
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Posted by Chad Collins (+138) 17 years ago
I appreciate your insight. You are probably right about the average home being sold is less expensive. I know it is purely a stab in the dark, but what do you think the average price of existing home sold in Miles City would be?
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Posted by Jill Rizk (+48) 17 years ago
I wanted to respond as someone who has just moved into the area and has the money to make the choice to build new, bring in a modular or redo the ancient farm house already on the place. I chose to remodel the farm house and have spent about $13,000 for windows, doors and updates in the plumbing and water system. This much older home, which I believe was moved in from Fallon around 1948, is now tight, warm and efficient. It also has amazing character and history and I love the "funky" aspects of it such as the Mongomery Ward metal kitchen cabinetry and bathroom cabinet, old fixtures, tongue and groove walls and wood floors. The house is also amazingly well preserved for its age.

I'm happy I was able to breath new life into this home instead of being a part of the destruction of forests and land to build some glame home I don't need and that no one could care less about anyways. Not to mention that less expensive "affordable" construction is not nearly the overall quality that I currently live in. I also find the new modular homes extremely tacky and having lived in them for years, know that they are nightmare to maintain and update.

By updating this home, I hired local labor and have purchased paint, carpet and many other remodel items from local businesses. I'm sure I've contributed to more than one local Christmas.

In a lot of ways I'm glad that the population here has to deal with the older construction because you see a vital downtown with character and in many cases beautifully preserved older homes. We also still have the wonderful open spaces that many towns are now desperate for after subdividing their countryside to provide that "new, not lived in" experience.

I may never have a garden tub, but having beautiful open land and wildlife gives me much more pleasure.

Stepping down off my soap box now.....
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