New home numbers better than last year
by Sheri Kell
business@mdjonline.com
September 12, 2012 12:01 AM | 2089 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This two-story, single family home is currently under construction on lot 135 in the Woodbridge Crossing subdivision and is managed under The Providence Group. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
This two-story, single family home is currently under construction on lot 135 in the Woodbridge Crossing subdivision and is managed under The Providence Group.
Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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MARIETTA — New construction starts in single-family residential housing continued to improve in August in Cobb County and most of its six cities. Several industry insiders agree that the new construction start upward trend is the result of a market correction that has taken place: As foreclosed and distressed inventory has been absorbed, demand for new product has increased.

Unincorporated Cobb and its six cities issued 116 permits to build new single-family homes in August, nearly twice as many as were issued the same month a year ago.

Unincorporated Cobb accounted for the majority of the permits, with 82 for the month. The city of Marietta led among cities with 14. Smyrna reported 10 permits, and Acworth was next with seven. The city of Powder Springs had three permits and Kennesaw and Austell both reported zero.

The new permits in Acworth were all issued to Kerley Family Homes, a Cobb-based builder that has three subdivisions under way. Acworth city officials said the builder purchased a fourth Acworth subdivision in August.

Since Jan. 1, there have been 784 new-house permits pulled across Cobb. At this time last year, 632 such permits had been pulled in the county and its cities.

“Fewer inventories are creating a good opportunity for builders to put some inventory on the ground,” said Alex Koutouzis, president and managing partner of Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw. “A lot of the stronger builders that were able to sustain (through the recession) are now able to get land at better price points, and the land is in line with today’s pricing. It’s allowing them to take advantage of the market and they have the capability to do it.”

Koutouzis said that even though banker’s credit requirements have not loosened up, they have seen their loan pipeline growing.

“I don’t know if it’s increased confidence, or a result of the fact that we now have attractive housing in the right markets. The decline in home values have made the homes that buyers are getting a good value,” Koutouzis said.

John Hunt, an analyst with Marietta-based Smart Numbers, said that as of August, the county had 4.1 months of housing supply, the lowest in 12 years.

“That means the demand is outpacing supply, and maybe it’s a good time to build some homes … at the right price,” Hunt said.

Tina Fountain, owner, Tina Fountain Realtors, said that she too has seen home inventory dramatically level off and that has caused some buyers to consider new construction to get their specific requirements for a home.

“The good news is that there is some new construction available,” Fountain said. “It is a good time for builders who are not afraid to take advantage and get those homes built.”

Fountain said her clients’ typical selling price has also trended upward.

“The price point that is getting hot again is the $400,000 to $800,000 range,” Fountain said. East and west Cobb and Vinings are still very much in demand, she said.
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