Home building industry on the mend - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Home building industry on the mend

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The home building industry nationwide and in Louisville appears to be on the mend. The industry hit bottom about a year ago, but since then it has been a slow recovery and home builders are optimistic that the worst is over.

There is a lot of activity in the Shakes Run subdivision in far eastern Jefferson County. It is the site of this year's Homearama to be held in July.

Across the country and in Louisville building permits are on the rise.  "For single family, condo, and multi-family housing, we are seeing permits up by 16 percent in March of this year, compared to March of last year," says Tara Brinkmoeller of the Home Builders Association of Louisville.

The housing market is recovering from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Another sign of an improving housing market in Louisville is that nine out of the ten homes currently under construction for Homearama have been sold.

Home builder Dan Smith of Stonelake Homes says he survived the downturn by doing remodeling work.  "Things are coming back, but not where they need to be, everybody is still a little hungry for business, so you get great labor costs, and land costs seem to have stabilized, so all the conditions are perfect for building new homes," says Smith.

He agrees people are looking for more value in their homes and the days of the so-called giant McMansion are mostly over.  "Possibly smaller dwelling areas, smaller bedrooms, more storage, upgrades in energy efficiency are all very important to people right now," says Brinkmoeller.

Some builders say the recovery began during the third quarter of last year. But it may be awhile before home building gets back to the level it once was. Adds Brinkmoeller,"So it's going to be a very different type of building business, we are going to see a steady upturn starting from now and into the future." 

The home building industry may have gotten a shot in the arm from the federal tax credit program for home buyers. First time buyers got up to $8,000 and current owners got $6,500 for relocating. But that program expires at the end of this month.

However a Kentucky state tax credit program remains in effect until the middle of July. Home buyers can get up to a $5,000 state tax credit for newly built homes.

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