By Karen Saucedo
It’s a busy and exciting time in construction around Waco, and our construction department is no different! It’s no secret that the Waco area has seen significant growth over the past few years; a staggering 46% increase in building permits in 2018 over 2016 according to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s data. This increase in demand has had a profound effect on the home prices in our community. Permit values averaged near $225,000 and real estate sales values averaged over $207,000 at the end of 2018, making it even more challenging for first time homebuyers and low to moderate income buyers to realize the American dream.
Our moderate income buyers are finding that the supply of homes within their affordability are limited. Many of the homes in the Waco market below $150,000, which is on the high end—if not out of reach entirely–for most of our buyers are in need of costly repairs and updates. Our goal as a developer is to provide homes that bridge the affordability gap that currently exists, although we have also seen an unavoidable increase in our own pricing.
NeighborWorks Waco’s home prices in 2012 were $90,000 where today they have climbed to over $135,000, unless subsidized by the City of Waco’s HOME program–a HUD funded program providing a subsidy developers in the form of a grant, to lower home prices for qualifying low and moderate income buyers. Added costs are coming from two main factors: increased lot costs (historically lots ranged between $1000-$5000, where today they are being marketed at over $10,000) and higher contractor costs due to the abundance of work in our market.
NeighborWorks Waco works closely with the City of Waco’s property manager to identify city foreclosed properties available for development. Lots purchased through this program can save the buyer thousands of dollars. We also work with the city’s housing office to utilize a Residential Tax Abatement Program that incentivizes new construction within the City’s designated RTA area by eliminating City of Waco taxes for up to seven years, as well as waives liens and tap fees, again saving the buyer thousands of dollars.
NeighborWorks Waco has also partnered with Waco ISD’s Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy or GWAMA to educate and train the next generation of skilled construction laborers. We are currently experiencing a shortage of skilled workforce to replace our aging construction trades industry and studies show that the need for young trade workers will continue to increase over the coming years. NeighborWorks Waco is providing the school with jobsite-based learning opportunities. Instructors are working closely with our construction staff to organize onsite learning days where students work alongside contractors in all phases of construction. Our goal is to educate and encourage students attending the academy to pursue construction trades as a career path, even allowing students to intern in the construction industry their senior year.
To learn more about our quality, affordable homes or to see if you qualify for the City of Waco program please contact our office, 254-752-1647 !
Current NeighborWorks projects include:
Legacy Square Development (400 Block of Hood & Turner)
408 Hood – Under Contract
416 Hood – Coming Soon
420 Hood – Under Construction SOLD
413 Turner – Under Construction SOLD
417 Turner – Available
421 Turner – Available
Texas and Congress Street Projects
1221 Texas – Under Construction 3 Bed, 2 Bath $135,000
1226 Texas – Under Construction 4 Bed, 2 Bath $145,000
GWAMA Project (Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy)
1014 Faulkner Lane – Under Construction 4 Bed, 2 Bath $145,000