All of the counties in the HBA’s jurisdiction experienced double-digit increases, with Butler County enjoying the biggest percentage gain, a 20.8 percent increase. The county issued a total of 320 single-family permits during this period, compared to 265 last year.
Warren County continues to lead the region with a total of 511 single-family permits, posting a 16.1 percent increase, through June. Hamilton County registered a 15.5 percent increase, with 275 total permits. Clermont County also continued to demonstrate momentum, registering a 20.1 percent increase, with 173 permits.
Home construction for the region surged by nearly 29 percent in 2013, dipped by about 1 percent in 2014 before rebounding by about 10 percent in 2015.
“I think we’re seeing gradual improvement,” said Dan Dressman, executive director for the Home Builders Association. “It’s the best improvement over the past couple of years that we’ve seen since probably 2005 at the height of the market.”
Dressman said he is unsure if the home construction will ever — or should ever — again reach those lofty heights considering today’s regulatory-heavy environment.
“I don’t know if we ever should ever get to that level again … where anybody who could fog a mirror could get a mortgage,” Dressman said. “That created a lot of the problems that we had.”
Dan Tartabini, vice president of sales and marketing for M/I Homes, said the company has seen continued growth in all its markets, especially Mason, as well as Liberty and Hamilton townships.
“Sales are up, closings are up. Everything is steady and increasing week after week,” he said. “This isn’t just short lived. There’s a lot of jobs in those areas and jobs and schools are what buyers are looking for when they set out to buy a new home.”
Of all the markets locally, Liberty Twp. and Hamilton Twp. led the pack.
Liberty Twp. had 142 of Butler County’s 320 total permits for the six-month period, while Hamilton Twp. had 127 of Warren County’s 511 total permits.
If the first half of the year can be matched in its second half, the four-county region could see a 13.5 percent increase for 2016.
Growth is likely to continue for at least the next year to be able to meet pent-up demand, as well the demographic needs of buyers just entering the market, Dressman said.
“Those seem to have been the hotspots for the last several years because they tend to be the areas that have the most undeveloped land and will into the future, especially Liberty Twp.,” Dressman said. “There is quite a bit of land available in Clermont County, but we just have not seen the kind of interest level that we’ve seen (in Butler and Warren) counties.”
Dressman said that’s primarily due to job growth in Butler and Warren outpacing that of Clermont County.
He said while builders are building and buyers are buying — “the perfect combination” — shortages of buildable lots and skilled construction workers are slowing down the overall process at the midyear mark.
“It’s taking longer to get from the starting point to the finish line,” Dressman said.