WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls is the sixth most affordable place to live in the United States according to the Center for Region Economic Competitiveness. It's a tool the Chamber of Commerce uses to recruit businesses and workers to the Falls. This is one piece of the puzzle they hope will help grow the workforce.
"When you're able to point to that and say okay this is who we are as a community, it doesn't cost as much to live here as it might somewhere else, President of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, Henry Florsheim said. "That's a good story to tell."
For years Wichita Falls has been one of the most affordable places to live in the country. It's something Florsheim and the chamber is proud of. But the statistic can be deceiving.
"While it's good that our cost of living is low, we have to be concerned with making sure that the salaries here are high enough to where that actually helps somebody," Florsheim said. "Because if salaries are lower and they're not able to take advantage of the low cost of living, then we're right back to square one."
Florsheim said right now the most important thing they have to do is grow the workforce. If they do, the cost of living could go up. But Florsheim is okay with that. And so is Owner of Bishop Realtor Group, Denny Bishop.
"The sweet spot would be more jobs," Bishop said. "No question about that."
Bishop believes the market will be sustained for the foreseeable future, and that more jobs will help the housing market. But he thinks high tax and insurance rates hurt the market.
"I think that's one of the achilles heels for us," Bishop said. "A lot of times we get people that come in that can afford a $200,000 house then they see what their taxes are going to be and decide they can only afford a $175,000 home."
Florsheim said affordable housing affects job recruitment.
"The only other way to grow the labor pool is to be a city where more and more people are willing to stay after school or to move to," Florsheim said. "And cost of living goes into that."