Construction statistics forecast sunny times ahead
New starts for singlefamily homes in Polk County best since beginning of the “Great Recession”
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.