ST. CLOUD -- The Central Minnesota Builders Association has been around for a long time. Next year they'll be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Government Affairs Consultant Steve Gottwalt says one of their biggest roles is working to keep new housing affordable. He says that means partnering with local governments in an effort to keep fees down.

We know that fees and regulations and those sorts of things actually contribute to about 30 to 35 percent of the cost of a new home, which is crazy.

Meanwhile, there are state laws that can add to the cost of building a new home as well. Gottwalt says the new state building codes are set to go into effect on July 1st.

The electrical code, for example, is going to be experiencing some changes effective July 1.  It's been estimated the changes in that code at the state level are going to add $1,500 to the average new home.

The CMBA has a workforce housing initiative right now that is looking at affordable housing needs in the central Minnesota area.

Gottwalt says new construction was relatively flat last year in the St. Cloud metro area, especially compared to the Twin Cities metro which is experiencing a construction boom.

He says they are working hard to get more young people interested in the trades industries.

We'd like to partner with unions and others and say could a 16 or 17-year-old be exposed to a job site experience.

The CMBA has over 400 members representing builders, contractors, realtors and others.

Their annual Tour of Homes is coming up at the end of this month and their Home Show will be held the second weekend in March.

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