Safer housing could put American dream out of reach

(WMC-TV) – The cost of the American dream could be on the rise. New code regulations could make homes in the Mid-South safer, but would they be affordable?

The cost of a new home in the Mid-South will jump if new construction codes are adopted.

"[It] will increase the overall cost of a home 3 to 4 percent overall," said Memphis Area Home Builders Association Executive Director Don Glays.

Glays said stricter seismic standards are to blame, specifically better framing of the home and the stronger attachment of the structure to the slab. Those changes are supposed to make the home safer.

"The walls will be more rigid and therefore if it's a catastrophic earthquake," explained Glays. "There would be more time to get out of doors and through windows."

The worry now is whether the high cost of safety is pricing out the dream of homeownership. But even with a slight price hike, a monthly payment could still be affordable.

"Interest rates are extremely low and so compared to what they would have cost them in 2005 or 2006, you're probably going to having a monthly note significantly less than five or six years ago," said Glays.

The new construction code standards are expected to be adopted by the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission later this year, perhaps by the end of the summer.

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