Evelyn Pyburn of the Big Sky Business Journal attended a recent summit on “affordable housing” in Billings, MT, and came away with some very interesting highlights.
First, she gave a tip of the hat to Dr. Pat Barkey of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana. He pointed to one of the main factors driving up house prices in major Montana cities: government codes, regulations and red tape.
Pyburn: One of the main reasons, if not the only one, that he really pointed out is that it’s the regulations and policies of the local communities that make it very expensive to build new housing and therefore people cannot afford it … I forget how many building permits have been issued over the past 10 years, but the majority of them were for construction outside the city limits.
Here’s the full audio of our conversation with Evelyn Pyburn:
Here is what was very interesting. She says more young people are living with their parents now than in the past 120 years.
Pyburn: Bob Leach from Western Property Management mentioned this. And he said there are more young people, those under 29, living with their parents now than at any time in the past 120 years. It’s worse now than after the Great Depression when 48% of young people still lived with their parents. And currently, that rate is 52%. So, we are half of our young people who cannot afford their own housing, and they live with their parents.
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