HOT MARKET: New home construction rebounds in this area

Homebuilders say new home construction is returning to pre-Great Recession levels and is on pace this year to increase by 51 percent compared to just two years ago.

An analysis by this media outlet shows more homes are being built in the region right now compared to any year in the past decade. Builders in eight local counties — Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Warren, Preble, Clark, Champaign and Butler counties — have pulled 710 building permits for single-family homes in 2017, putting this year on track to hit record numbers.

Tom Peebles, owner of Peebles Homes, said the past 12 months has been the busiest for his company since the Great Recession in 2008 caused a major housing sales crisis. Peebles Homes builds and remodels homes in Butler, Greene, Warren and Montgomery County, and crews are currently working on about 20 homes.

“Business is great,” Peebles said. “We’ve seen high volume of traffic at our locations, and the phone continues to ring.”

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Peebles said people are especially interested in home building in Greene, Montgomery, Warren counties, which was reflected in the amount of permits pulled in each county.

Warren County had the most new single-family housing building permits in the past two years. In 2015, builders pulled 653 new single-family housing building permits in the county, and that amount increased to 806 the next year. In just the first four months of 2017, 355 permits have been issued.

In late April, Turtlecreek Twp. in Warren County unanimously approved tax incentives on a residential and commercial development, which would include a 4,500-home planned community featuring a 109-acre, $15 million sports complex.

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It’s not the only part of Warren County where new home building is being planned. The Springboro Planning Commission has been debating whether to approve construction plans for 467 single and multi-family residences on 86 acres of the historic Easton Farm.

“Our intent is that the development of Easton Farm will create a new destination landmark in Springboro through sensitive site planning, building design, construction, landscaping, and amenities to meet market demand and the lifestyle needs and wants of the community. Creating a compatible and harmonious community between varying land uses are critical to the creation of a walkable and successful neighborhood, ” according to a development narrative submitted by Hill Properties, the project developer.

Counties between Cincinnati and Dayton are attracting new home buyers. Butler County has seen the second most growth in the regions. Builders have constructed more than 1,000 new homes in Butler County in the past two years, mostly in Monroe, Liberty and Butler townships.

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Montgomery County saw an increase from 280 permits to 335 single-family housing building permits in 2016. For 2017, there have already been 101 permits granted. Greene County also saw an increase from 252 permits in 2015 to 262 last year. Builders have already been issued 117 this year.

Steady building growth can be attributed to the economy bouncing back after the recession, said Kathleen Unger, the executive director of the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

In the region, places like Fairborn, Greene County, Beavercreek Twp., Huber Heights, Clearcreek Twp. and Washington Twp. have all seen “decent growth,” she said. Building has been especially popular along the Interstate 75 corridor, spanning from Vandalia to West Chester Twp., she said.

“Obviously the economy has picked up a lot,” she said. “People are far more confident making those big purchases since they’re feeling secure in their jobs, and feeling a lot of optimism. It certainly also helps that rates are favorable.”

The local growth mimics national trends, which are still strong despite some lagging progress. Based on current price, permit and employment data, markets nationwide are running at an average of 100 percent normal economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI) released in early May.

“Single-family permits have inched up slowly as builders continue to face supply-side headwinds such as ongoing price hikes in building materials, a lack of buildable lots and labor shortages,” said Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist.

Unger’s advice for buyers on the fence? “If I were going to buy, I would do it now.”

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