GROW SD Builds New Homes in Sisseton
Saturday, January 26, 2019
In many rural communities across the country, housing is a critical need. Since quality housing is a prerequisite for towns to be able to grow and thrive, organizations like GROW South Dakota are stepping in to help solve this problem.
GROW SD has been working since the early 1990s to develop housing opportunities throughout the state. The organization recently built three spec houses in Sisseton that are available for sale.
Area employers have expressed that they are having a hard time filling jobs, due to lack of housing options for workers. According to GROW SD Chief Operating Officer Lori Moen, “Quality rental properties are full. Some professionals are commuting 60+ miles to work here because housing isn’t available locally.”
Moen notes that there’s a particular gap in housing stock for homes in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range. The common perception is that it’s difficult to build affordable homes within this range. But GROW SD has found a way to make it work.
GROW SD was able to develop the homes thanks to funding received through NeighborWorks Project Reinvest Neighborhoods program. According to Moen, “The City of Sisseton has been a good partner in the development process.”
One of the challenges GROW SD faced, in developing the new homes was to find suitable lots within city limits, which would allow for construction of a new home and provide room for a garage and a yard.
“The city has been removing vacant and/or dilapidated properties, and was able to donate a cleared lot to GROW SD, as we are a nonprofit organization,” Moen says. The city also provided an incentive to prorate real estate taxes for new housing construction; to help reduce tax liability. The city was able to learn more about this process by being a part of the Grow Housing initiative, which brought five communities together to learn about community challenges and solutions surrounding housing.
Each spec home was designed and built for its particular lot. One of the homes is a zero entry house, which makes it accessible from the garage to main entry with no steps. The three homes are energy efficient and constructed by a local company, with a majority of the materials purchased locally, in order to spur area economic development.
The ability to construct three homes within the same timeframe and similar location allowed the price point to meet the affordability range. All of the players of the development team worked diligently to find solutions to make this happen.
The success of this project has helped generate a larger discussion of positive change in the community. “The development of three houses is a substantial increase for a small community so there’s some excitement around that,” says Moen, adding that she’d like to see other communities replicate what was done in Sisseton.
“Hopefully, we can help other rural communities see that they have people and building products within their own communities and they can also build homes in an affordable price range,” Moen says. “I’m hoping people will look at this and say, ‘They’re doing it, we can too.’”
There are no income restrictions on the spec houses for sale. Homebuyers have a number of financing options, from conventional loans to USDA Rural Development loans to direct financing. Assistance may also be available for down payment and closing costs. Visit the GROW SD website for more information. https://www.growsd.org/housing/properties-for-sale
Category: GROW SD