New home construction flat with 2010 numbers

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Statistics for area housing starts for 2011 are similar to the ones from 2010, but are nowhere near the boom from the 2000s.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Statistics for area housing starts for 2011 are similar to the ones from 2010, but are nowhere near the boom from the 2000s.

Housing starts in the area appear to be on par with those in 2010, according to recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From January to November, the latest data available, there were permits issued for 2,005 new homes in the greater Augusta area, compared with 2,024 housing starts reported year-to-date in 2010.

Matt Ivey, a co-owner of Ivey & Associates home builders, said that although growth is always good to see, the Augusta market is lucky to have experienced this stability.

“I think we’re doing pretty good to hang on where we are,” he said. “Augusta is a very stable market. Our business was up, but the market as a whole was probably flat.”

Metro area housing starts this year are 6 percent higher than in 2009 and 30 percent higher than in 2008.

The Commerce Department reported builders across the nation broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 homes last month, a 9.3 percent jump from October. It’s the highest level since April 2010.

Still, the rate is far below the 1.2 million homes that economists say would be built each year in a healthy housing market.

Analysts say the home-building industry is improving, albeit modestly, after two of its worst years in history.

“While beginning to improve, a strong, sustained recovery in the housing market, especially the important single-family sector, is still a ways off,” said Steven Wood, the chief economist at Insight Economics.

Last year, builders began work on roughly 587,000 homes, the worst year on record. This year, construction may top 600,000.

Though new homes represent just 20 percent of the overall home market, they have an outsize impact on the economy.

Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Associated Press reports were used in this article.


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