Housing crisis affects jobs | Bonner County Daily Bee

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SANDPOINT – House prices are on the rise and the service sector is feeling the crisis. In response, local real estate officials and business owners hope to start a conversation about how locals can overcome future housing challenges.

“An apartment near the Ponderay Walmart costs $ 2,300 per month in rent. A person earning $ 5,000 a month would pay almost 50% of their income in rent. It’s not affordable housing, ”said Luke Webster, real estate agent at Evergreen Realty.

The US Department of Housing and Development defines “affordable housing” as only 30% of a person’s income.

A single wide trailer costs $ 250,000. According to the HUD definition of affordable housing, the only people who can afford it are two double incomes of $ 50,000 a year and they don’t want to live in a trailer, Webster said.

Webster suggests that if residents can afford to purchase additional land in a dormitory community, they should do so in order to subdivide it in the future. If you have a business and need space, consider building north of North 40 Outfitters or south of Sagle, he said. These locations will only grow over the next few years.

“Locals can sell, but where will they live,” said Raphael Barta of Century 21 RiverStone. Webster agreed.

Sandpoint has limited space to build and is geographically wedged between Schweitzer and Lake Pend Oreille, said Webster and Barta.

Kootenai County is growing and the state’s two northernmost counties are feeling the push and influx of people moving north, Webster said.

It is known that the locals and officials of Sandpoint have always “sneered” at Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls for their suburban sprawl, while trying to keep Sandpoint quaint. Post Falls has open fields that accommodate housing. Sandpoint doesn’t have the space and is becoming like Aspen, Vale, Jackson Hole and other mountain resort towns, Barta said.

Cities like the ones above are beautiful, but the locals are overpriced, resulting in a shrinking service sector and negatively affecting local businesses. We see this in Bonner County, Barta and Webster said.

“The new comprehensive city plan is not well designed. It has nothing to do with the current administration and now the landowners have lost the ability to subdivide the land, ”said Webster.

“The city is trying to solve this housing problem, but five years ago this problem was obvious,” Barta said.

As the city and major employers in the area search for affordable housing options, Barta and Webster are not convinced this housing option will solve the current problem.

Public housing doesn’t inspire people, Webster said. Generally, affordable housing does not include garages to keep costs down. People need a garage, for small businesses and for entrepreneurship, he said.

In response to the city pushing for accessory housing units and single family homes, Barta said it’s a start, but we need hundreds of not 20 homes that are more expensive than locals.

Barta said the deed-restricted local housing would solve some of the housing shortage the region faces.

“Deed-restricted housing would require residents who buy a house to agree not to sell or return the house in two years for double the purchase price.” It’s common practice, ”Barta said.

“Locals buy for shelter, not to turn around,” Barta said. “A buyer would never disagree with a deed-restricted home because they need a place to live.”

While some might argue that the officials would overstep their authority, Barta disagreed.

“If the government does not intervene, we will not have housing [and this] comes from a right-wing capitalist, ”Barta said.

Sandpoint will get the community it deserves if something isn’t done, Barta said. Then only the rich will be able to live here.

Building a small house, getting creative in housing, or living on family land is a good idea, but it doesn’t solve the overall problem, he added.

“As an employer, how do you find accommodation for employees? How does the service industry still function if there is no housing for servers and retail employees? Said Webster.

A stroll through downtown town shows signs of searching every other storefront, from restaurants to retail stores and everything in between. One of those business owners, Justin Dick of Trinity in City Beach, asks many of the same questions about growth, affordability, labor shortages and housing shortages.

“As an employer, it’s hard to see which employee you will help,” Dick said. “You need to invest in people who are ready to take on more responsibility. “

Why should an employer invest in an employee who only wants to work three days a week, asked Dick. He added that if someone wants to live in Sandpoint and wants the hours, they will take on more responsibility at work.

Dick has a condo that he rents to employees. Other business owners also rent to employees, Dick said. Due to the cost of rent and the lack of apartments, some of Trinity’s employees commute from as far away as Newport, Washington.

Getting to Sandpoint is an option, Barta said. However, he noted that employees who live outside the county spend their disposable income outside the local economy.

Dick, Webster and Barta believe locals must come together to solve current housing and employment problems.

“To be at Sandpoint you have to work for it, we do it because living here is worth it,” Dick said.

“You have to get into a house, you have to save 20 to 40% of your income if you want to own a piece of northern Idaho,” Webster said.

“There is a way out if the community comes together. When things get desperate, the best ideas come, ”Barta said. “I hope the mayor and his housing council can find a solution.”

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