Merced County Times Newspaper
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Realtors hear from building industry

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Realtors and Housing Market Graphic
Realtors and Housing Market Graphic

Affordable housing is a joke if what is coming down from Sacramento, in the way of new laws, comes to pass.

For one thing, the plan is to require all home construction and restoration workers to be paid at the Prevailing Wage level of pay.

According to John Beckman, chief executive officer of the Building Industry Association of the Greater Valley, “This will increase the cost of labor for building a new home by 35 to 40 percent.”

One of the big advantages of living in the valley is that the price of housing is substantially lower than in many areas of California. That advantage will be gone if Prevailing Wages has to be paid.

At present only projects using government money, such as schools and public buildings, are required to pay the Prevailing Wage, according to Beckman who is an authority on such laws. Beckman was the guest speaker at the Merced County Board of Realtors meeting on Sept. 17 at which 32 Realtors and guests attended.

Beckman was introduced by Allen Sietsema this year’s Board of Realtors president.

“Everyone wants low-cost housing,” said Beckman, “However, no one wants it close to them.”

He said the average age of a house being sold in Merced County is 31 years old and Merced County is behind the building curve when it comes to providing homes for the growth in population.

“Home building after the last recession has not recovered,” he said.

He added that state lawmakers know about the problem but have “no fix.”

“Adding more to the cost of building a house with the Prevailing Wage law will only cause more of a problem,” he said.

Nevertheless, Beckman was optimistic about California. “We have the best weather in the country,” he said.

On the down side: “California is increasing its debt faster than any other state in the United States with the exception of Illinois.”

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