Despite pandemic challenges, homebuilding industry aims to persevere

In my 20 years in the residential construction industry with major homebuilders across the nation, I’ve never seen a year quite like 2021. I anticipate 2022 will look much like last year, as we will continue to see supply chain issues, skyrocketing land prices due to the artificial lack of supply, and increased processing timeframes as jurisdictions struggle to recruit and hire qualified staff.

Not only have processing timeframes by jurisdictions doubled in some cases, we have also seen a number of duplicative and unnecessary regulations and ordinances proposed and/or passed that have added to an increase in construction costs as well as additional delays.

Under my presidency of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association board of directors, I look forward to continuing to support the state’s sustainability plans as it relates to water and energy efficiency while striking a balance that does not harm affordability for working Nevadans. We look forward to continuing to be a partner of the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to be good water stewards.

KB Home is not only the No. 1 energy-efficient national homebuilder but was also the first national builder to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Our approach to homebuilding not only lowers the total cost of homeownership but also enhances the lives of our homeowners and helps support the environment in the process.

We look forward to seeing Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s lands bill move through the process, which will send a clear message to the market and stabilize land prices. Through land sales, developers have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in impact fees to fund critical infrastructure projects for SNWA, local governments and schools. It’s crucial that we carry on with responsible development as it continues to play its role in providing significant revenue streams for Nevada’s conservation and education needs.

I would be remised if I didn’t also mention a crisis we are seeing at the national level — housing affordability. As we struggle to find labor, lumber, land and materials to build, we are drastically undersupplying the demand for housing in Southern Nevada. As our economy continues to diversify and attract new residents to our valley with advantageous mortgage rates and a lack of resale housing, the demand for new homes is greater than ever. In order to address rising costs, I look forward to continuing to work with our municipalities to update their zoning codes to allow smaller more environmentally friendly lots that have higher density where appropriate. This includes building next to large transit corridors, and increasing the percentage of attached product such as town homes to the overall new housing market.

Five years ago, KB Home Las Vegas was only building 2 percent of attached product, and we anticipate it being over 15 percent of our overall portfolio in the next five years.

Like the rest of the world, we will face uncertainties in 2022. But our local homebuilding industry has nearly 70 years of experience meeting the housing and community development needs of Southern Nevada. We will navigate those challenges by utilizing the individual talents and resources of our bright members for the good of this community and come out the other side stronger and more effective, as we have many times before.

Brian Kunec is the 2022 board president of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association and regional general manager of Las Vegas, Seattle and Boise at KB Home.

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