In ad­di­tion to a de­pleted in­ven­tory of af­ford­able homes, ris­ing in­ter­est rates could also make home-own­er­ship pro­hib­i­tive.

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - SPACES -

Ken Si­mon­son, the chief econ­o­mist with the As­so­ci­ated Gen­eral Con­trac­tors of Amer­ica, sug­gested the de­mand for homes will de­crease as builders pass on higher costs to con­sumers.

Tar­iffs placed on build­ing ma­te­ri­als like steel, alu­minum and lum­ber by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion have driven up costs for con­trac­tors and will ham­per sin­gle- and mul­ti­fam­ily home con­struc­tion, Si­mon­son said.

As home costs in­crease, Si­mon­son said he ex­pects de­mand for rental fam­ily hous­ing will pick up while mort­gage rates will con­tinue ris­ing “at a grad­ual and ir­reg­u­lar pace that will price more home­buy­ers out of market,” he said.

“I think we will still see an in­crease in home con­struc­tion and mul­ti­fam­ily apart­ment con­struc­tion in 2019, but it’s likely to be smaller than oth­er­wise be­cause of th­ese fac­tors... driv­ing up costs and adding un­cer­tainty to both cost and de­liv­ery,” Si­mon­son said.

But Rocky Fer­raro, the for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cap­i­tal Dis­trict Re­gional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, pointed out that im­prov­ing hous­ing con­di­tions and af­ford­abil­ity has been an on­go­ing chal­lenge, and gov­ern­ment ef­forts have ranged from the New York State Ten­e­ment House Act of 1901, to the Hous­ing of Act of 1949.

He said the goal hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily been met, but “that doesn’t mean you give up,” Fer­raro said. “For each af­ford­able house you build, that’s one house­hold that has an oc­cu­pied unit.”

On the cover

Pho­tos by Paul Buck­owski / Times Union

A view of a home on Cen­ter View Drive in Troy.

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