By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
The housing market may be making a long-awaited comeback with the rise in construction of new homes.
The trend can be seen around the state as larger metropolitan areas, such as Miami, Tampa and Orlando, have reported increases. Smaller metro areas, such as Fort Lauderdale also have seen the increase as has the Daytona Beach area.
Through November, building permits were issued for 588 new homes in Volusia County, up from 499 from January through November 2011.
Local construction companies, including ICI Homes of Daytona Beach, Gallery Homes of DeLand and Vanacore Construction of Ormond Beach, are seeing the increase.
Builders are pleased but still cautious about what the increase means.
"I am cautiously optimistic that the market is beginning to recover. We have seen an increase for about a year," said Bob Fitzsimmons, president of Gallery Homes. "I will be more optimistic if the first quarter reports show that increase continuing."
"We are optimistic. People are gaining confidence which is leading to more home sales and other new building sales," said Kevin Mays, East Central Florida Division president of ICI Homes.
Some home builders say the market is stabilizing for the long term.
"I believe that there will be a slow and steady increase. I believe like most people that we have already bottomed out. We have six communities that we are building in and are reporting new sales with 43 new houses under construction," said Scott Vanacore, co-owner of Vanacore Construction.
Local homebuilders also see several positive signs that have contributed to the recent rise.
"There is a loop in product demand. Also, retirees are buying delayed life choices through the economy instead of living in their dream homes and deciding to go ahead and make home purchases," Mays said.
"People have been smart enough to build the new homes now before inflation hits and raise prices. Used homes and foreclosures have peaked over. We also have a pent up demand that is unleashing itself," Vanacore said.
"Building permits have increased significantly over the last year. There are a couple of factors. First thing is that foreclosures and short sales have declined. The second thing is that the school board, Volusia County and many municipalities have limited impact tax fees. Those fees have been suspended for two years. They were $12,000. That has also played a role," Fitzsimmons said.
Those in the housing market are hoping the trend continues. Homebuilders say the economy will play a key role and the housing industry can help the nation out of the recession.
"The federal government has to address our debt and deficit problems. If impact fees were waived for another year or two, that would help. Consumer confidence would increase and the housing market could help pull us out of this recession," Fitzsimmons said.
"The government can help by keeping impact fees and property taxes down, which helps us provide better services to our customers. I also believe that for the trend to continue, that people need to be confident in their jobs," Mays said.
"The economy has to be stable and people must be confident in the stabilization of the economy," Vanacore said. "Jobs are picking up which is picking up people's confidence. That is why people are buying new homes."