Here's one way to look at impact housing has in a way that can get one's dander up. It's an economic cross-cut, showing the number of full-time jobs, wages, and tax revenues get generated with the development and construction of 1,000 homes, both for-sale and for-rent.
National Association of Home Builders economics analyst Paul Emrath offers a couple of areas of commentary that help explain the far reach of home development and construction in our society, culture, and national and local economies:
In the construction industry, the profit generated for proprietors (individuals who own their own businesses) tends to be quite substantial relative to wages and salaries. This is largely due to the profit generated for owners of the subcontracting businesses that usually handle a large share of the construction work. In some cases, the owners of these businesses perform construction work themselves. In fact, this is essentially true by definition for the many one-person subcontracting firms that populate the industry.
Wages, profits and the construction activity itself are subject to a variety of taxes and fees that generate revenue for the approximately 90,000 different governments in the U.S. The $111.0 million in taxes and fees generated by 1,000 single-family home includes $74.4 million in federal taxes (mostly income taxes and Social Security), $10.3 million in state and local income taxes, $6.9 million in state and local sales taxes, and $13.7 million in impact, permit and other fees local governments impose on new construction.
The figures mean something. Housing--as long as it stays rooted in the real-world of wages as the core of payment power--is one of those true virtuous cycle economic phenomena, where greater amounts of good things are the result of a few good things, again and again.
Another kind of impact, though, is hard to put into numbers, benchmarks and data points, but it's no less important than 2.9 full-time jobs for every new home built.
It's the impact of "why," beyond job descriptions, skill-sets, talents, and even business vision. For housing to continue to be a virtuous-cycle phenomenon, it takes a community of people willing to overcome "no," to outwit time and physical barriers, and to do that most elegant and rare thing that people do to make extraordinary things happen, work and live together.
So, The Vine, a small, one-day event flanking official proceedings of the Pacific Coast Builders Conference here in San Francisco, invites about 200 real estate, design, and construction professionals to recharge their batteries for a thrash--both behind and ahead--to do the work that results in 1,000 new homes and 2,975 new jobs and $162 million in workers' wages.
The Vine is an event that doesn't so much celebrate community as it does kindle what it takes to build it again and again, from raw stuff that's around us. Stories. The senses. Human hurt and human healing. The bright weave of the mind and the heart and all the felt ways that move a person to another, from another.
Yesterday's The Vine, in Newland Communities chief marketing officer Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki's words, wrapped its human agenda and themes around "people, place and passion," running a trail of spilt tears--of joy, rage, grief, hope, and redemption--through a dozen or so presentations, curated by The Vine chief cultivator and instigator Greg Fuson.
The Vine day created a profound backdrop to the NAHB economic analysis above as it mapped its way through its promise:
"To rethink the underlying principles about community. To better understand its DNA; why we crave it; why it matters; where, how and why it grows; and how we can do a better job of fostering it. To invite a variety of perspectives. To talk about it. And to see what emerges."
To heal, whether it's from the loss of a single dear life, or from the loss of freedom, or wherewithal to survive on the planet, or loss of brothers and sisters and sons and daughters in an Orlando massacre or a Boston Marathon, is part of housing and community-making's DNA. It's the "why" that supports 1,000 homes, and 2,975 jobs, and $162 million in wages every time.