New home construction in Louisville bouncing back

Louisville, KY (WDRB News) --Local builders are getting ready to stage their biggest show of the year as the home building industry is finally on the road to recovery.

The Home Builders Association of Louisville is getting ready for its annual Homearama next month.

It comes at a time when the housing industry finally appears to be recovering five years after the housing bubble burst.

Nationwide in May, builders filed the most permits to build homes in more than three years.

The story is much the same in the Louisville area.

"We are seeing improvement in the Louisville market," says Tara Brinkmoeller, the director of Public Affairs and Communications for the Home Builders Association of Louisville.

She adds, "In the month of May we were up fifty percent over the same month the previous year in permits, so that is huge."

Fifteen of the seventeen houses in Homearama have already been sold.

Builders says the market here started to improve late last year and has continued into most of 2012.

"There has been some increased demand in the traditional resale market in existing homes," explains David Ernst of Prestige Builders," so folks have a little more confidence in their home values; they see their values have returned and so that enables them to purchase their next home and move into the new home they want."

No one can say if home building will ever return to the pre-recession levels of 204 when 6,400 building permits were issued locally.

The industry says there is now a new normal.

"We are expecting that new normal to be between four thousand and five thousand permits in a year." adds Brinkmoeller, "and that is probably not expected until late 2014 or 2015.

And builders have changed the way they design houses as consumer demand has changed.

"The market is definitely driving efficient use of floor plans," says Ernst, "to make sure you don't have a lot of wasted space; so what is going away is a lot of two story foyers and two story great rooms which is just wasted vaulted space."

Ernst, who has built three houses for Homearama, says consumers are also looking for more energy efficiency in their homes.

Homearama begins July 14 and runs two weeks through July 29.