For as long as I can remember, there have always been those in favor of development and those against it. My opinion, although a little biased, is that building is not only necessary but benefits the economy for millions of families. For those who oppose it, it seems like the common argument is that they don’t want anyone “moving into their back yard” or “taking away their great views”. My response to this is, “Unless you live in a teepee, you also moved into someone’s back yard and/or stole their beautiful views when your house was built.” Another less opinionated view to this debate is to consider the economic benefits that building has on our society.
Construction and infrastructure have always been considered the backbone of the US economy. In 2016, the top five US builders closed on more than 117,000 dwelling units and had combined revenues of over 40 billion. The top 200 US builders closed on a combined total of almost 310,000 dwelling units for a whopping 112 billion in revenues. That equates to approximately 100,000 more homes than are in all of Chester County. Keep in mind that this is just the construction of new homes; not commercial or institutional projects or infrastructures like roads or bridges nor does it include all of the remodeling projects that happen annually in this country. This is only the top 200 builders, all of which had revenues exceeding 50 million dollars annually. There are probably hundreds or even thousands of smaller builders that didn’t make it on the list but still, collectively, construct thousands of new homes each year.
When looking at this in terms of how many people this puts to work or how many families it feeds, it’s an even easier argument to sell. The 2015 US census for per capita income was just shy of $30,000/year, and the median family income was just over $68,000/year. This means that the top 200 builders, last year alone, generated enough revenue to employ 3.7 million people and/or 1.65 million families. Building homes also generate billions of dollars each year in property taxes to pay for our teachers, police officers, firefighters and municipal workers, and funds the maintenance of millions of miles of local roads. So, before you think of opposing the next planned community, you may want to stop for a minute and think about how you or your family might benefit from all the jobs, taxes and income it will create for your local community.