South Dakota HBA Successfully Advocates for Housing Affordability

Housing Affordability

Homeownership will remain within reach for families across South Dakota, thanks to the advocacy efforts of the South Dakota Home Builders Association (SDHBA). The HBA advocated for a bill that requires certain proposed rules to include a housing cost impact statement. The bill was recently signed into law by Gov. Kristi Noem.

Last year, SDHBA opposed several codes during a state electrical commission meeting, says Tony Jockheck, EVP, SDHBA. Armed with a cost analysis and data provided by NAHB, SDHBA shared how the implementation of the codes would increase the cost of constructing or remodeling a home.

“We determined that the new codes were going to add roughly $3,000 to the cost of a new home and about 2,000 people would be priced out in South Dakota due to these codes,” said Jockheck. “That might not be a large number for most states, but for our state, that is a pretty big number.”

Despite SDHBA’s best efforts, the commission doubted the data. The state did not provide its own analysis, which surprised Jockheck. “The commission did not do their due diligence.”

Shortly after the decision, SDHBA appealed directly to Noem during a meeting about housing issues affecting the state. After meeting with the governor, the state electrical commission reached out to SDHBA. The commission was willing to reconsider the information the association provided initially about the proposed codes. SDHBA was able to get four of the codes removed.

Still, SDHBA was determined to find a long-term solution to help policymakers better understand the impact of regulations on housing. Jockheck credits the strong network of state HBA executive officers (EOs) for helping each other stay informed about state legislative efforts. Through a regular EO information exchange, Jockheck found a framework for a housing cost impact statement that could work in South Dakota.

“Our HBA, lobbyist and government affairs committee looked over [the framework] and felt like it was a simple, easy to understand bill that we would get support from,” says Jockheck. “We shared that with Gov. Noem’s office and they absolutely backed it.”

This year, the bill was introduced as Senate Bill 92, which would require an agency to prepare a housing cost impact statement when promulgating a rule containing a new standard or a new requirement for building or remodeling a house based on one of the new model codes. The bill easily passed both legislative chambers with only one lawmaker in opposition.

Jockheck attributes the bill’s success to the engaged and active SDHBA members, local HBAs and strong relationships with local housing affordability advocacy groups who also supported the bill. For more information on how NAHB’s Intergovernmental Affairs team can help navigate legislative challenges and opportunities, contact Jennifer Ustynoski.

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