Governor Gianforte highlights efforts to address affordable workforce housing supply
HELENA — Addressing the Montana Housing Coalition on Feb. 21 at the State Capitol, Governor Greg Gianforte highlighted his administration’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable workforce housing in Montana, calling on the legislature to send pro-housing reforms to his desk.
“Housing is a top priority for Montanans. I hear it over and over from folks throughout the state,” Gianforte said to the coalition at the State Capitol. “To increase the supply of affordable workforce housing, we can’t keep doing the same thing we’ve done year after year after year. The state can’t. And local governments can’t. It hasn’t worked.”
Gianforte continued, “We must change our approach. I’m urging the legislature to get pro-housing reforms to my desk.”
In his remarks, the governor highlighted how the demand for more housing has outpaced homebuilding over the last decade in Montana. Between 2010 and 2020, Montana’s population grew by 9.6 percent, outpacing the state’s housing unit growth of 6.6 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The governor also pointed to rising prices, mortgage rates, and inflation as making it more difficult for Montanans to own or rent a home, as well as burdensome regulations.
Driven by increased consumer demand, rising inflation, and national supply chain breakdowns, the cost of building a new home has soared, with private residential construction costs skyrocketing 18.4 percent nationally between March 2021 and March 2022, according to the Census Bureau.
Regulations at every level of government drive up the price of newly built homes. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimated government-imposed regulations account for 23.8 percent of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale.
Last summer, Gov. Gianforte stood up a diverse, bipartisan Housing Task Force to provide recommendations to make housing more affordable and attainable for Montanans.
In line with one of the task force’s recommendations, the governor proposed the Home Ownership Means Economic Security (HOMES) Program in his Budget for Montana Families. Tied to conditions, including increased density, the program invests $200 million to expand water and sewer infrastructure and ultimately increase the supply of affordable workforce housing.
The governor has called on the legislature to send this bill and other pro-housing reforms to his desk.