Much of the headlines when it comes to property development revolve around major projects in urban areas—cities with high growth rates and ample opportunities for profitable construction. However, there's an area of the country that needs just as much development attention—rural communities.
Here are some of the reasons property development is so important to rural America.
It Improves employment
A lack of housing in rural communities can have an effect on hiring prospects. In fact, a study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that the development of new homes in rural areas isn't keeping up with the demand for employees—with housing development down 14 percent in the last six years but job openings on the rise. A bigger investment in development in these rural areas could work wonders in attracting more (and better) job candidates to the area.
It Improves Quality of Life
With that same NAHB study finding that the average home price in rural communities is a little more than $200,000 (and South Dakota's comparable communities landing largely in the $50K to $200K range), the variety of affordable options can also have a great impact on quality of life. The National Rural Housing Coalition has found that cuts in development funding in rural areas can be correlated directly to a poverty rate in these areas triple that of urban centers. This is how an improved investment in rural housing can be a powerful tool for improving quality of life.
It Builds Connection
The more we can tell stories of rural housing development, the easier it will be for partnerships and community coalitions to get behind it and invest in it. Rural developers can't be islands when it comes to building the needed seed money to develop more housing properties. The Housing Assistance Council estimates that approximately 21 percent of Americans live in rural areas—which means that it takes connectivity and effort to ensure these smaller populations remain invested in keeping rural communities thriving.
It Builds Economy
One thing that can keep a rural town's population growth from stagnating is a healthy local economy. Property development can help in many ways. There are not only immediate and temporary effects, such as the equipment and building material revenues that are pumped back into the city, but also lasting effects, such as additional property tax revenue that can go toward improvements like transportation and education. With all these things in mind, housing development is truly economic development.