If anything good came out of the housing downturn it was a new awareness about the importance of the home building industry and a growing alliance of trade groups and leaders working to solve issues at the state government level, a building industry official said in Madera on Wednesday.
“Home building was a huge economic engine, probably more than anyone imagined at the time,” Winn said.
The industry once employed about 750,000 people statewide in a trade or construction-related job and that number has fallen to about 70,000 over the last five years, he said.
As a result, many people can’t find work or have had to change jobs, Winn said. It has also trickled down and affected business like home improvement stores who benefitted from the robust building years, he said.
But Fresno is pulling out of the dumps — albeit very slowly and behind cities like San Diego, San Francisco and those on the coast that are already stabilizing, Winn said.
Winn, a Sacramento builder, believes regional alliances and new partnerships with other trade organizations, labor agencies and legislative leaders are helping the industry advocate for easier building application processes that will allow the industry to grow again.
A demand from aging baby boomers looking to downsize and those in Generation Y beginning their home search will also help boost the market.
There is a large group of people in Generation Y — those ages 18 to 29 — “who are approaching the age where they need to crawl out of mom’s basement and get a house,” Winn said.