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New Home Builds Show Signs Of Life

More people across the country planned to start building a house in March compared to last year. WOSU takes a look at what new construction looks like in Central Ohio. Compared to where we were, Central Ohio appears to be experiencing a housing boom. In Dublin, the number of residential building permits issued the during first quarter more than doubled, up 163 percent over last year. That sounds good, but not really. Dublin went from 11 permits last winter to 29 this year. Columbus and Canal Winchester each saw modest gains. Columbus-based real estate researcher Rob Vogt said don’t put too much stock in the numbers. “I don’t think you can take away too many conclusions from just a couple of months of data. I think it’s important to take a look at the long term," Vogt said. Vogt said single family home builds have been flat since 2008 when the housing bubble burst. He said new builds are tied to consumer confidence. “Never in the history of housing have we had such affording housing rates that we have today, and if we’re not able to get these first-time home buyers to buy a house today with such really unprecedented interest rates, it’s going to be tough to get them to come out," Vogt said. Jim Hilz of the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio is slightly more confident about the new figures. Hilz said the industry is seeing an increase in permits and sales. And he said builders are gaining more confidence. “As builders are planning for the future they’re concerns are different in terms of where they’re going to build. And that’s something that we haven’t heard in a while. And there is talk about land development again and about developing residential neighborhoods which is a good sign," Hilz said. To keep things in perspective, Columbus issued about 2,400 residential permits last year. In 2003, the city issued more than 12,000.