After decades of hand-wringing, housing construction is on a big upswing in Madison.
Detailed in a Daily Leader story published Aug. 28, a number of developments are in full swing this summer and bode well for the future. The projects include single-family homes, duplexes, apartment buildings and student housing.
We aren't exaggerating when we say housing has been a concern in Madison for decades. A 1995 survey conducted by Augustana Research listed housing as the number one concern of citizens in the city. Local businesses considering expansion would often ask about housing possibilities for new employees. When the Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC) would try to recruit new businesses to come to Madison, the topic of housing would frequently come up.
Among the reasons for the supply/demand imbalance had to do with the cost of construction, which is higher than what some home buyers or renters were willing (or able) to pay. There are some programs that can bridge the gap, like the South Dakota First-time Homebuyer program, the Governor's House program, or federal rent subsidies, but not enough to spur real growth in the housing stock.
Today's growth is really a credit to private developers who are making investments in land, infrastructure and buildings, counting on buyers or renters when construction is complete. Credit also goes to the city of Madison, LAIC and other agencies who are trying to help the developers in many small, but meaningful ways.
The growth at Dakota State University has also helped spur development, as more on-campus students need places to live, as do additional faculty and staff. Two new residence halls (the renovated hospital and the new Residence Village) are helping relieve the housing shortage as well.
These investments will serve the city for many years to come. We're appreciative of all those who are helping make the new housing a reality.
-- Jon M. Hunter