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Gretchen Whitmer: More housing, home energy savings coming soon to Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaking into a microphone, many people standing behind her
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday touted plans to build more housing in Michigan and provide home energy rebates (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state officials roll out more aggressive goal for building new housing and detail home energy rebate initiatives 
  • Whitmer wants 115,000 new or refurbished homes by September 2026
  • Efforts to lower housing and energy costs are ambitious but achievable and “absolutely necessary,” Whitmer said

MACKINAC ISLAND — Michigan residents should soon see more new houses on the market and a reduction in home energy costs under state and federal initiatives touted Wednesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Speaking at the Mackinac Policy Conference on the porch of the island’s Grand Hotel, Whitmer announced a new goal to build or rehabilitate 115,000 homes in Michigan by September 2026, up from the 75,000 target she announced in 2021.


The new goal, which includes nearly 50,000 homes already built, is “ambitious, it's achievable and it's absolutely necessary,” Whitmer said Wednesday. 


The announcement comes as policymakers work to address affordable housing shortages, particularly for lower-income workers. The Whitmer administration is already working to spend nearly $1.4 billion in state and federal funding allocated for various affordable housing initiatives. 

That money is expected to help build 10,000 new housing units, Whitmer's office said in January as the governor celebrated what she called the largest housing investment of its kind “in Michigan history."

Officials say the need is clear: Michigan’s statewide vacancy rate for housing units available for rent or sale decreased from 4.2% in 2011 to 1.9% in 2021. For the latter year, state data shows only 62% of rental homes were affordable to households earning less than 60% of their region’s median income.

Amy Hovey, executive director and CEO of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, said recent initiatives have helped but noted the state is “still in a housing crisis” and could use action from the Legislature. 

She urged lawmakers to raise the state’s single-family mortgage amount to keep up with rising housing costs. 

State officials also highlighted pending plans to provide rebates to reduce costs for Michiganders who install solar energy systems or energy-efficient appliances in their homes.

Michigan is in line for $211 million in home energy rebate funding through the federal Inflation Reduction Act, which can be used to help residents make their homes more efficient or upgrade electric systems and high-efficiency appliances, including heat pumps and electric stoves. 

The state submitted a proposed design for its rebate programs last week and is waiting on approval from the U.S. Department of Energy. The energy efficiency rebates are expected to be larger for Michiganders with lower incomes. 


Separately, the federal Environmental Protection Agency this month awarded Michigan $156 million to help lower-income and otherwise disadvantaged residents afford rooftop solar.

The funds are expected to lower energy costs for 28,000 households, help at least 18,000 low-income households install solar and reduce costs of energy-efficient appliances for roughly 10,000 families, according to the Whitmer administration. 

Combined, the programs will save Michigan families "a heck of a lot of money and improve the quality of life," Whitmer said.

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