American author Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote, “Home is the nicest word there is.” And, in 2021, as fallout from an international pandemic continues, it’s one that is increasingly challenging to find — not only for buyers, but also for those seeking temporary housing solutions.
We are in a historically significant housing shortage crisis and it has directly affected our customers’ access to temporary lodging. There are a number of factors contributing to the shortage: historically low interest rates spurring more buyers to enter the market; a rise in the cost of basic building materials driving up purchase prices; a shortage of skilled construction workers causing slow movement; and a long period of underbuilding following the 2008-09 housing crash.
Together, these things caused a severely depleted inventory of available homes. The entire housing industry has taken a hit, and we’re left with a shortage that experts say could take years to turn around.
As effects trickle down, the housing-market crunch also is keenly felt in the temporary housing industry, where the focus is not only on quantity and location, but also quality and pricing.
“The same shortages and high costs plaguing buyers in the housing market are doubly challenging in a business like ours, which works diligently with insurance carriers and corporate relocation agents to find quality dwellings in specified locations,” noted Teresa Vidger, CEO of Temporary Housing Directory. “Time is a much more critical factor here. For a family who lost their home in a fire last night, making sure they’re in a safe place tonight just has to happen. That’s why our care team places them in an emergency hotel right away, then goes to work to find something larger that matches their familiar living space.”
While insurance carriers understand a housing shortage exists, Vidger said they don’t always grasp all of the reasons why housing solutions are so expensive right now. “There are fewer options in the neighborhood where the policyholder prefers placement,” she explained. “And, when we can’t locate ‘traditional’ rentals for a C-suite executive needing to move from Arizona to Tennessee, we need to get creative. We have recently increased our housing research staff in an effort to move even more quickly and efficiently.”
Consistent creativity and flexibility have grown THD’s success, and the housing shortage has compelled the company to seek additional types of accommodations to house customers. Going outside of the traditional private landlord or apartment communities, THD has sought out competitively priced, quality lodging in apartment-like hotels and VRBOs; worked with alternative lodging groups and owners who rent homes on a short-term basis; and even looked into options provided by recreational vehicles, travel trailers and temporary pop-up-construction dwellings.
Connections that span the U.S. and abroad, quick thinking and equally nimble business processes and negotiating expertise all ensure that, with THD on your side, “home” will be the nicest word in your vocabulary … and soon.