South Dakota homeowners might soon face glut

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Population changes in South Dakota during the next 10 years point toward more retirees looking to sell their homes but fewer younger people being able to buy them.

The director for the Black Hills Knowledge Network delivered that sobering message Tuesday at the South Dakota Housing Conference.

Jared McEntaffer has looked at trends and sees imbalance. People reaching retirement age will nearly double by 2030, he said, while adults younger than 65 will grow only six to nine percent.

At the same time, young people’s pay levels during the past decade haven’t kept up with their growing college debts, according to McEntaffer. He said they’re tending to live alone or with roommates longer than before, and they’re more likely to be in apartments rather than houses.

There’s already a softening Midwest housing market.

“What we’re seeing is the demand pulling back. And that’s the big component, that’s why nationwide, we’re seeing home prices falling even though the interest rates are falling. And that’s caused by buyers pulling back. That’s caused by people being less confident in the future of the economy and sort of delaying those purchasing decisions,” he said.

McEntaffer said trade uncertainty and weather have hurt South Dakota’s economy. He said there’s also a lot of political “angst” at the national level.

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority is hosting the annual conference through Wednesday. Executive director Mark Lauseng welcomed several hundred people and introduced Stockton Williams, who leads the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

“We’ll probably produce as a country eight-hundred, nine-hundred-thousand new for-sale homes this year. That’s still going to be several hundred thousand short of demand, and that’s continuing a trend that’s been playing out since the worst of the crash,” Williams said.

The U.S. housing bubble that blew up in about 2006 led to more caution and the nation is now short about two million for-sale homes and one million to four million rental units, according to Williams.

He described the federal low-income tax credit as the most important and effective means for developers to produce affordable rental apartments. He said secondary lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came under federal-government control during the Great Recession but are now profitable again.

The federal tax cuts Congress passed in 2017 included provisions for housing opportunity zones that call for fewer capital-gains taxes to be paid if the money is re-invested in designated areas. But many members of Congress tend to still be focused on what happened a decade ago, according to Williams. He described it as fighting the last war.

“We don’t necessarily want to forget those lessons, but we don’t want to over-learn from them either. And sometimes I think policymakers from both parties are slower than those of you who are actually doing this everyday, to recognize that circumstances have changed. Companies and individuals have learned lessons from what not to do and now there really needs to be a commitment to sustainable home ownership,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, in the nation’s Capitol Tuesday, Republican U.S. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota introduced legislation with Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota to improve lending services at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for Native Americans.

Rounds said the department’s loan-guarantee program since 1992 helped “countless” native peoples “realize their dreams of homeownership” He said the bill would remove regulatory hurdles that can delay loan processing.

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