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Housing news looking up in Hoisington
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Hoisington is finally on a builder’s radar.  
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reported at the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce coffee Thursday morning that he met with a potential housing investor earlier this week.  The builder is interested in building four to six stick-built moderately priced homes in Hoisington if there is committed interest in the project.
The area identified as the McKenna Meadows Community in the north part of the city is where the interest lies. Those who are interested can visit the city office to see artist renderings and two-dimensional specs representative of homes that may be built.
“These homes are better than average, with stone or brick, two-car garages, marble countertops and other popular amenities,” he responded when a member asked what type of housing was proposed.  “The builder anticipates being able to keep the starting purchase price under $200,000.”
Homes will have full, unfinished basements.  Mitchell added tax-abatements offered by the city could make finishing them an option.

Pent-up demand
“This is really astounding, because any single built homes of the same quality that have been built in this area in recent years have not been able to touch this price point,” Hoisington City Councilman Brian Wilborn said.  “This is because by building more than one house at a time, they can take advantage of economies of scale.”  
He shared housing statistics for the city.  There are 1,350 housing units in Hoisington, and only a 3.9 percent vacancy rate.  Of those vacant units, many are boarded up houses that are in disrepair or need to be razed.   This points to pent-up demand.
“For those of us who have kids graduating from college who want to move back, the biggest complaint we hear is there is no place to live,” Wilborn said.  “We absolutely need to have development like this.”

Gauging interest
Wilborn cited new businesses being established in Hoisington to back up the need for new housing. Casey’s General Store is in the first stages of construction at this time.  While those jobs will only pay modest wages, those workers will need places to live.  Wilborn hopes existing homeowners may choose to move into newly built homes, freeing up more good-quality older housing for the rest of the population.
“We need housing at every level, entry, mid-range and upper,” Mitchell said.  “We are very limited right now.”
Both Mitchell and Wilborn emphasized the point that the builder is not willing to build the homes speculatively.  There needs to be at least some commitment before further plans can be made.  
Current projects by the company are underway in Great Bend and McPherson.