With housing shortage, builders in Michiana are overwhelmed
BRISTOL, Ind. -- Elkhart and the RV industry has been known as the "boom or bust" economy for years.
Now, it's a boom. And while it's a good situation in Elkhart County right now, the success does come with a unique set of problems.
"The housing shortage is rampant in Elkhart County. With the RV industry, obviously people have got good jobs, so they're able to move up and afford their first homes," explains Kim McKibbon, the Executive Officer of the Builders Association of Elkhart County.
Homes for sale are being snatched up. And that leaves families with one option: to build a new home.
But this popular trend is turning out to be just too much.
"It ends up being a domino effect for Elkhart County, because they just can't keep up with the homes," says McKibbon. "With the housing shortage right now, I'm told the average wait time for builders is September or October before they can even start thinking of a new house."
She says it's a good problem to have, but it's still inconvenient for those wanting to settle down.
"It's good news, bad news because builders can't keep up with the demand," she adds.
And while the demand is high, there's a lack of a workforce to help hammer out the difference.
"They're so busy with the demand, when they don't have employment either. Everyone's going to the RV industry, making $25-30 an hour, they're working inside, plus they can get a bonus," explains McKibbon. "If you go to work on a job site, you're not going to make that much money. And you're outside working in the elements."
The Parade of Homes, which shows off new developments and houses, kicks off in just a couple of weeks.
Families are already viewing this as an opportunity knocking.
"Our phone is ringing off the hook right now with people wanting to get inside those homes and purchase them before the parade even stars," says McKibbon.