Con­struc­tion sta­tis­tics forecast sunny times ahead

New starts for sin­gle­fam­ily homes in Polk County best since be­gin­ning of the “Great Re­ces­sion”

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By TRICIA CAMBRON As­sis­tant Editor

The Polk County con­struc­tion mar­ket for new homes is keep­ing pace with what is be­ing called na­tion­ally the big­gest move in new home starts since the “Great Re­ces­sion be­gan in late 2007.”

Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Com­merce Depart­ment, con­struc­tion of sin­gle­fam­ily homes na­tion­wide reached its high­est rate in July since De­cem­ber 2007.

Brian McCray, Polk County Build­ing In­spec­tor, be­lieves that those num­bers and what he’s see­ing in Polk County dif­fer from the ups and downs of the con­struc­tion mar­ket over the past year as it strug­gled to at­tain con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

In Au­gust, the county is­sued build­ing per­mits for seven new home starts, rep­re­sent­ing “the best month we’ve had for new con­struc­tion starts in the last four or five years,” McCray said.

The new starts are not part of one de­vel­op­ment ei­ther, he said, they are scat­tered across the county.

“As the month went along, I felt like I was

see­ing a lot more ap­pli­ca­tions for build­ing per­mits than nor­mal, and when I looked at the to­tal, I found I was cor­rect.”

Polk County Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy in­struc­tor Todd Tillery teaches con­struc­tion trades at the academy. He works closely with lo­cal con­trac­tors and said he is en­cour­aged by what he is see­ing and hear­ing. For Tillery, a steadily im­prov­ing con­struc­tion mar­ket means more jobs and ap­pren­tice­ships for his stu­dents, so he was happy to note that, “there are a great many con­struc­tion projects cur­rently un­der­way.”

McCray said he ex­pects the new hous­ing con­struc­tion to con­tinue to im­prove in the area. “I look for it to con­tinue be­cause not only am I see­ing it, but I’m get­ting a lot of phone calls and peo­ple com­ing in to talk about tak­ing over some of these lots that have been sold in the county. And their goal is to start back build­ing more houses in these sub­di­vi­sions.”

The im­proved hous­ing mar­ket has al­ready ben­e­fited sales at sup­ply stores such as Home De­pot. The world’s largest home im­prove­ment re­tailer re­ported Tues­day that sales at U.S. stores open at least one year had climbed 5.7 per­cent dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter, push­ing its stock to an all-time high of $123 in morn­ing trad­ing, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to the AP story, while hous­ing starts are im­prov­ing, the sup­ply of new homes is still less than what the in­dus­try con­sid­ers suf­fi­cient; the stan­dard is build­ing starts rep­re­sent­ing six months of prod­uct, while presently the amount of prod­uct avail­able is at 5.4 months.

Mar­ket in­di­ca­tors also re­veal a boom in mul­ti­fam­ily and sin­gle-fam­ily rental hous­ing. Right now, it is a land­lords’ mar­ket as the num­ber of peo­ple look­ing for rentals far out­weigh the num­ber of units avail- able; as a re­sult, rents are sky­rock­et­ing in many ar­eas.

On June 8, the Cedartown City Com­mis­sion ap­proved Van­tage De­vel­op­ment LLC’s ap­pli­ca­tion to an­nex 20 acres on 0 Blanch Road into the city and to re­zone the land to PD-1 residential for the pur­pose of build­ing an apart­ment com­plex. The land is off of High­way 27 across from the Cedartown Mid­dle School.

McCray said there are a cou­ple of projects on the hori­zon of Polk County that are not con­firmed but could be ex­cit­ing.

“I do not want to make that public yet,” he said. “I’d hate to say it and then have some­thing fall. So that’s all I can say about that now,” he said.

Cedartown City Man­ager Bill Fann had the same “just wait and see” op­ti­mistic re­ply when asked if he was aware of any sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment projects in the city’s fore­see­able fu­ture. “There’s noth­ing ex­cep­tional on the hous­ing front right now, but we hope to have an an­nounce­ment soon,” he said at the end of last week.

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