Realtors say a housing shortage in the Tri-Cities is near - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Realtors say a housing shortage in the Tri-Cities is near

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- Realtors have been warning people of a housing shortage in the Tri-Cities for a year. Now they say we are getting closer to that shortage.

They say apartments are filling up and new homes aren't being built. Part of the reason; banks are not lending.

Stew Stone is the Master Developer for the Horn Rapids Neighborhood in Richland. He says there should be houses in certain areas, but construction companies are having a hard time getting loans right now.

Stone says, "I met with 8 different banks, personally, over the last 6 to 8 months, and didn't have one single bank that was in a position where they wanted to take on either a new builder or a new project."

Paul Roy, the President Elect of Tri-Cities Association of Realtors says, "the banks are not lending because of what's happening nationally."

After the national housing market crumbled, lending standards tightened. That is good for struggling areas but bad for thriving places like the Tri-Cities. Because with existing neighborhoods and apartments filling up, as well as new construction, realtors worry about running out of places to live here.

"If the continued population growth in the Tri-Cities continues as it has done historically, in the next year or two, we're going to be in a definite shortage if we don't start meeting that growing demand." Said Roy.

Roy also says a housing shortage would hurt the economy adding, "Affordable housing becomes more and more unaffordable for many people and that's part of our fears too."

New construction is going up, just slowly. For example, Stone says the Horn Rapids Golf Community will be completed about two years behind schedule.