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Wisconsin Republicans Pitch Housing Fix by Cutting Red Tape for Builders

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“This is a shortage that’s coming from multiple angles…we’re lacking new construction, we’re lacking the ability to develop lots.“ -Mary Duff, Wisconsin Realtors Association

The latest proposal at the Wisconsin Capitol to find more affordable housing in the state focuses on cutting red tape for builders and young people.

A handful of Republicans on Thursday introduced their housing reform plan. Among the proposals is a focus on cutting red tape, giving developers and builders tax credits to build new homes, and pushing local communities to allow more homes to be built.

The number two Republican in the Assembly, Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said the lack of affordable homes is driving up the price of homes, particularly first homes.

“We need to look into regulations,” Rep. Rob Summerfield, R-Bloomer, said at a statehouse news conference. “Local communities also need to look to see what they can do to help.”

Steineke is a realtor himself.

“Wisconsin’s media age for first time home buyers is now 33,” Steineke explained. “Wisconsin is running a migration deficit with individuals ages 20-24. Wisconsin also has the lowest homeownership rate for households aged 25-34 and 35-44 than all neighboring states, except Illinois.”

“When you have younger kids that are coming out of college and getting their first jobs, and they’re unable to afford their first home because of rising prices and the lack of available housing it’s a serious problem.

He said the lack of homes is hurting the state’s effort to keep young workers and young families in Wisconsin.

Cutting Red Tape for Builders

Mary Duff with the Wisconsin Realtors Association said it’s a problem not just in high growth areas like the WOW counties or the Fox Valley.

“This is a shortage that’s coming from multiple angles,” Duff said Thursday. “We’re lacking new construction, we’re lacking the ability to develop lots. “

There’s no word when the Republicans plan to vote on their new housing plans.

Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol, including Gov. Evers have proposed their own affordable housing plans. Those proposals, however, focus on helping people pay their rent, or helping people find apartments in high-demand areas.