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'Demand for housing is going to get stronger': Warner Robins builders work with city to address home shortage

The city's economic development director Kate Hogan says this year, the city has had more interest in building new apartments than in single-family homes.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Warner Robins homebuilders met with the city Wednesday to talk about the area's home shortage.

If you were to talk to anyone in town, they'd probably say everyone is moving to Houston County.

"A lot of great things about Houston County that drive people to want to live here," Dylan Wingate said.

Wingate is a second generation homebuilder. At WCH Homes, his team helps families build their dream home from start to finish.

"When they come in this office, they see everything about the home. They have all the paperwork about the home and they know exactly from all the interior, exterior, all the selections, the lofts, everything in between, so they definitely have a good understanding on what their home is going to be, what it is going to be like; and we also provide model homes in multiple communities," Wingate said.

He says he thinks folks are building because of the price range.

"The rates can be a big factor within the housing industry, but we do have a lot of good incentives out there, rate buydowns, everything that we think consumers moving into this market can really, really benefit from or them to be able to get into a new home. As people continue to move into the county the demand for housing is going to get stronger and stronger; and I do believe you're going to see that number tick up over time," Wingate said.

According to Warner Robins Community and Economic Development Director Kate Hogan, in 2020, half of Warner Robins' people rented and the other half owned their homes. Now, Hogan says, the city has had more interest in building new apartments than in single-family homes.

"We would like to see our single-family building permits continue to rise in order to meet the demand of our local market, so we really want to sit down and talk to our single-family homebuilders as far as what it looks like for them to invest in our community," Hogan said.

So, the city hosted a lunch with the home builders to brainstorm new, strategic partnerships. Darin Curtis, city zoning manager, says he wants builders to know it's best to contact his office about zoning before they need them.

"They know that the building codes change through the years, but in the same way that the building codes change, so do the zoning codes, so we just invite them to keep up to date what's going on. and it kind of just ties all back in to us being a resource for the development community," Curtis said.

"I think that's a good step for them to take is to understand, we do need more housing for the demand coming in here and see what they can do to be proactive within the builder and developer side," Wingate said.

Wingate says they had an increase in builds this year. They credit that to people moving here for Robins Air Force Base.

Hogan says they also want to work on bringing affordable housing. She says, according to their data, an affordable home in Houston County nowadays is an $80,000 to $180,000 build.

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