BY STARRLA CRAY
WINSTED, MN The housing market has seen some drastic ups and downs the past 10 years, and Winsted is using this data to predict what might be in store for the future.
The city recently conducted an in-depth housing study through Community Partners Research, which Scott Knudson presented at Tuesday’s city council work session.
“Winsted doesn’t have massive failed developments and unsold lots, which is both a blessing and a curse,” Knudson said, explaining that although Winsted was lucky to avoid difficulties with subdivision foreclosures and tax forfeiture, it also has a small remaining lot supply for future construction.
He noted that more than 800 single-family lots are still available in neighboring communities, which is sufficient to meet construction needs for at least the next 10 years.
These empty lots are also at a competitive advantage, selling at far below market value.
However, Winsted will need additional lots in order to grow, Knudson said, adding that Winsted has demand potential for five to eight new housing units per year.
Due to the aging baby boom generation, demand is higher for moderate- to higher-priced homes, with less demand for entry-level homes in Winsted.
Achieving new home construction isn’t always inexpensive, however. Watertown, for example, implemented a financial incentive program in 2014 to spur growth.
“It cost them about $9,000 per house,” Knudson said. “They couldn’t afford to continue it in 2015.”
Knudson suggested that a new rental unit could be a good option for Winsted, in order to attract younger workers and the growing senior population. Currently, 25 to 30 percent of Winsted households are renters.
In next week’s Herald Journal, look for an article about how employment and aging affects the Winsted housing market.