One of the reasons that homes are so expensive in Wisconsin is that there are not enough of them for sale. And realtors in Wisconsin say one of the reasons there are not enough homes is because there are too many hurdles to build them.
The Wisconsin Realtors are pushing a series of proposals at the Wisconsin Capitol that the group says will help lessen the state’s housing shortage.
“The biggest hurdle is often the process, and the time it takes to get a new subdivision or a new apartment building approved.” Tom Larson, the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wisconsin Realtors Association, told The Center Square. “And the reason why the process takes so long is because the process has become overly politicized.”
Larson said neighbors have a tremendous amount of “input” when it comes to building new houses, and that both delays construction and increase the cost.
The Realtors’ solution is a piece of legislation that would make it harder for local communities to say no to housing projects.
Assembly Bill 266 would require local governments to “to approve certain permit applications
related to residential housing developments that are consistent with certain local requirements and limit the authority of a [local governments] to impose a supermajority requirement for a zoning ordinance amendment.”
“We all have a little bit of ‘Not in my backyard’ within us,” Larson explained. “We are our biggest problem to the creation of new housing.”
The Realtors have a study that says Wisconsin needs 140,000 new homes by the end of the decade to keep up with housing demand.
Larson said Wisconsin’s housing shortage and worker shortage go hand-in-hand.
“Business can’t get people to fill the job openings they have because the people don’t have a place to live,” Larson explained. “They can’t attract people from different states, or even different parts of the state because there is no place to live.”
The Realtors’ other legislation would create a new revolving loan fund to help pay for senior and workforce housing, to convert older buildings, and to update homes built before 1980.