Twin Cities Home Builders Optimistic About 2010

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, there has been some activity in the local Twin Cities home building industry in 2009, making home builders more optimistic about the industry’s recovery. Though the uptick in activity is moving slowly, it could pick up some speed in 2010.

According to the Keystone Report, which tracks permit activity in the 13-county metro area, residential construction in the Twin Cities declined for the sixth year in a row  in 2009 as measured by planned housing units. Metro area cities doled out 2,599 permits for 4,405 new housing units, a far cry from the peak of 11,472 permits for 19,000 units in 2003.

But builders are encouraged by 2009's strong finish. In the last two months of 2009, the Twin Cities saw 523 homebuilding permits for 997 housing units, up from 365 and 644 in the comparable 2008 period. Residential permits issued in just December 89% higher than in the same month 2008.

Shakopee was the Twin Cities metropolitan-area leader in both the number of permits issued and the number of units approved in 2009. The city issued 304 permits for the year and approved a total of 328 new units. Over 92% of Shakopee’s construction was single-family.

“Owning a home with a yard is still the dream of the majority of families, and we expect single-family homes will continue to gain strength,” said BATC 2010 President Gary Aulik. “Shakopee was the region’s top growth city in 2009, and more than 92 percent of its construction was single-family.”

Blaine was second in the number of permits issued in 2009 with 203,  followed by Maple Grove with 197, Woodbury's 181, and Lakeville at 140. For the number of units approved, Blaine again was second in the Twin Cities metro area with 274, followed by Minneapolis with 274, 245 in Woodbury, and 232 in Maple Grove.

An extension of the federal homebuyer tax credit is possibly contributing to the improved numbers. Since home buyers are now eligible for up to a $6,500 tax credit through April, builders are hopeful about the first quarter of 2010.

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