The Role of Housing in Economic Development
Housing is an often-overlooked aspect of economic development. Communities geared toward growth cultivate housing opportunities that meet the needs of all residents. The availability of quality housing attracts workers and can increase a town’s competitiveness.
The Faulkton Area Economic Development Corporation (FAEDC) is making housing a priority. It surveyed Faulkton residents in early 2017 to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the community’s housing needs. It recently completed the Faulkton Westside Addition, a 24-lot housing development, as well.
“There really wasn’t a place for people to build houses in town. This development was something the community really needed,” says Trevor Cramer, FAEDC’s economic development director.
Over the next decade, Cramer expects 20 houses to be built in the 31.67-acre development. Lots are available in two different sizes and range from $10,000 to $35,000. The self-contained development features three cul-de-sacs and is surrounded by trees.
FAEDC commissioned a spec house, which was completed in July, and already sold it. Cramer notes that this is a creative solution to spur building since it’s not always easy for people to obtain construction financing.
“One of the challenges for people is coming up with a down payment, particularly when they have to buy a lot first,” he explains. With the spec house, the house and lot were bundled into one package, which simplifies financing.
The first spec house has already had an impact in the community. “One of the interesting aspects about this that I find very exciting and kind of enlightening is the ripple effect that came with building this one house,” says Cramer.
The people who bought the spec home then sold their home to the local school superintendent, who had been living in a rental house. A teacher moved into the superintendent’s rental house, which freed up an apartment for another family.
“In the end, four families felt like they moved up,” Cramer says. “The trickle down effect was pretty neat and exciting.”
FAEDC is considering building additional spec houses in the future, possibly one that’s a duplex. The twin home model would enable two families to find housing in Faulkton. The plans being considered are for a zero entry (no step) design, which would be especially convenient for a senior or disabled person.
This development project has been a major undertaking for FAEDC and the small town of Faulkton. But ensuring the community has room to grow is critical as it looks to the future.
“It’s not easy to do what we did. For a community to create a housing development,” asserts Cramer. “But we’re already seeing a positive return on this long-term investment.”
All lots have city water and sewer. Please consider building your home in Faulkton, one of the shining stars of South Dakota.
Faulkton Area Economic Development Corporation
PO Box 458
Faulkton, SD 57438
Office: (605) 598-3050
Economic Development Director
President of Board