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A WORD FROM THE MAYOR
I highlighted our comprehensive master plan in general in my last column and this week and in future articles I’ll cover specific topics in the plan.
One is housing in Pearsall. The housing discussion covers our current population and expected trends for the future. The 2020 census reported Pearsall’s population at 7,325; Frio County reported 18,385. Using a projected model to 2033, the expected population for Pearsall will be 11,140. This is an increase of over 3,800 citizens from the last census; some families and some single adults. The study addresses the need for both single family housing and multi-family apartments to meet these expected housing needs.
Pearsall has 2,559 single family houses (including mobile homes) and 444 apartment units. The report shows that 50 percent of our current homes are occupied by 1-2 persons. Additionally, roughly 40 percent of our current population rents. Our elder population typically own their homes while the younger tends to rent. Seventy percent of our population is made up of folks from infants to 44 years old, meaning we have a young population, which is good. This is important in identifying and correctly supplying the need. The study indicates we will need 725 new homes and 675 new apartments over the next ten years to meet demand. Break it down by year and that is 72 homes and 67 apartments per year. Letting that soak in, wow, that’s a lot of new homes in a year’s time.
To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a house built in speculation in Pearsall for years. A ‘spec home’ is defined as a home built by a builder or developer without a specific buyer in mind, trusting that the market is such, buyers will be actively looking and capable to purchase the home. A custom home is where an owner approaches a builder and has them build the home they want on their land. To meet future demands we’d need builders and developers to come in and build ‘spec homes’ and apartments.
Exciting news for Pearsall is that a developer is on the cusp of building some spec homes in our community.
This is a move in the right direction and critical for our city’s growth and helps other components of economic development. With our Chamber now in place this is something they and city leadership can purse to encourage builders to invest in Pearsall by building homes.
Another area highlighted in the report is the roughly 300 homes in Pearsall that are both dilapidated and vacant. Many have little hope of being rehabbed as owners are deceased or moved away with no heirs claiming the property. This drives down property values, hurts neighborhoods and invites other problems. However, it provides an opportunity to meet some of our housing needs. Through our city ordinances, code enforcement and a collaborative effort with other stakeholders, we may be able to reclaim these lots in a presentable form for builders to purchase and build new homes.
New, affordable housing, is one of many targeted areas we will promote and develop. Without adequate housing and failing to promote this area of development, we won’t capitalize on the growth occuring statewide.
God Bless the City of Pearsall, the County of Frio, the State of Texas, the United States of America and You.
Ben T. Briscoe
Mayor of Pearsall