It is constantly getting harder to find housing that meets the needs and budgets of local households in Brownwood, a housing survey conducted by a Houston consulting firm shows.
    That is among the findings of a 75-page draft of the survey commissioned by the Brownwood Municipal Development District (BMDD) and completed by 628 residents.
    Guy Andrews, the BMDD’s executive director, briefed BMDD board members on the survey Tuesday and emailed a copy to the Bulletin.
    The final version of the survey, conducted by Community Development Strategies, will be completed in a few days, Andrews said. He said the survey will be placed on the BMDD’s website and distributed to builders and Realtors.
    “I didn’t (find) any surprises,” Andrews said. “It pretty much came out like I thought it would.”
    The survey’s findings included:
    • Questions concerning rental and purchase housing gave “frustrated comments about how difficult it was to located housing that may some or all of their needs. Many have had to settle for what was available.”
    • Another prevalent theme is the low prices residents expect to pay for new housing. Unless buyers want to buy old and obsolescent houses, they will have to pay a “normal” price. A large percentage of current households and new employees can afford upgraded housing.
    • The housing market in the Brownwood area could readily absorb 10 to 20 additional new homes annually over the next five years.
    • It is anticipated that total employment in Brownwood will increase by 200 jobs in 2017 and from 100 to 125 annually through 2021.
    • About 70 of these new employee/households will be income-qualified to purchase a new house in the $200,000 range.
    • Pent-up demand exists for new housing. This existing demand, coupled with about 70 new employee households annually that can qualify for new production housing, should ensure enough new house buyers for at least the next five years.
    • The apartment rental market has experienced significant demand pressures for years, driving up prices in aging units. Except for a handful of market rate units in assisted projects, there has not been a new market rate apartment complex built since the 1970s.
    • Indian Creek Townhomes is under construction with 115 new rental units. The townhomes will pull renters out of “aging and obsolescent” homes. It is speculated that the townhomes will “lease up” as soon as they are completed, and as Indian Creek is successful, additional rental developments will follow.
    • There are no production builders offering “speculative housing” in volume. The only new speculative housing in production is the Waterston condominium development, which has two to three showings a week and has six contracts signed.
    See Sunday’s Bulletin and for an additional article about the housing survey.