Funding the study

Housing analysis planned for September, release planned for later

Deimerly

Deimerly

It’s been three years since Marshalltown had its last housing market study, and funds for an update to the study are being sought.

“We did get a quote for the update, and we will realize some cost savings because we’ve already done some of the groundwork,” said Marshall Economic Development (MED) Executive Director Tom Deimerly. “We just started the fundraising campaign this week.”

The price-tag for this housing market assessment is $10,500, less expensive than the $12,500 cost of the 2014 study.

Deimerly said area entities are being sought to help raise funds for the assessment.

“We’re going to be reaching out to local business and industry and those that have an affiliation with residential development,” he said.

Although no dates are fixed, he said the study should be completed and released in the next few months.

“We’re looking at a release date of sometime late October to early November, with a start date to the analysis sometime mid-September to late September,” Deimerly said. “That would be the target right now, but that is a moving target.”

Like the 2014 study, the upcoming assessment will be conducted by Atlanta-based consulting firm Real Property Research Group Inc.

“They are experts in residential and housing development,” Deimerly said.

The firm will look at a variety of factors that impact housing, including demographic projections and shifts, recent new home and multi-family builds, area job growth, average income, average sales price, vacancy rates, average rent, housing availability, changes in the makeup of the community and more.

“As a part of the study, we’ll be conducting facilitative focus groups when our consultants make their trip into town,” Deimerly said. “They’re going to build upon the last study and the successes that we’ve had from that study.”

The upcoming assessment is timely, he added, because developers pay close attention to when data is collected before beginning projects.

“The reason we’re updating it now is our last study is about three years old,” Deimerly said. “Typically, after about three years, the developers start to question the data … plus we’ve had our successes.”

He said permits pulled since the release of the 2014 assessment totaled about $13.3 million.

“We’ve got another $13 million in the works, by the time you look at projects that are announced or in the process; we don’t bank those until they go,” Deimerly said.

Good data, he said, will help the housing situation in Marshalltown.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the study is really the backbone of any kind of decision making that goes on,” Deimerly said. “We want to have data-based, smart decision making as it relates to how we approach housing.”

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com