Family housing shortage seen
Marion has a shortage of family-size homes — that is the word coming from people who pay attention to the housing market in town.
Lori Heerey of Heerey Real Estate said the homes that sell best in town are three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in the $70,000 to $100,000 range. Those homes seldom stay on the market for long unless they are priced too high.
There are precious few houses with four or more bedrooms in town, though, Heerey said, leaving large families in a lurch.
“It’s tough to get a four-bedroom home in a price that family needs it in,” Heerey said.
Todd Heitschmidt of Central National Bank said that there are enough two-bedroom houses on the market, but those are too small for anything more than a family of three, and even that is a squeeze.
Heerey doesn’t know whether construction of new homes would be a good answer to the shortage of family-size houses.
“If we could answer that question, we could make a lot of money,” she said.
The main issue with new construction is price, she said. There isn’t much demand for houses costing $130,000 or more, but keeping new construction prices below that usually means sacrificing size or amenities that families might not be willing to give up.
Heitschmidt said one of his reasons for supporting development of duplexes for senior citizens is that it could allow older couples or widows to move out of larger houses, making those available for families with children.
Heerey agreed that a considerable number of family homes are occupied by singles or couples whose children are grown. She said she is in favor of the construction, but she didn’t think construction of duplexes would be a cure-all for the shortage.
“It might be a solution,” Heerey said. “There are those out there who have no desire to leave their homes.”
Another contributing factor, Heerey said, is that there are a few homes that have been empty for years but not put on the market because the owners haven’t found time to get them ready.