The new residential building industry in Cobb County saw a drop in activity in February, but 2012 is showing stronger numbers than 2011 in the year’s first two months.
Cobb and its six cities issued 72 permits to build new residential, single-family homes in February, a 24 percent decrease from the 95 permits issued a year go.
But the county still has momentum over 2011’s year-to-date numbers, as 165 permits have been issued in Cobb in the first two months this year, while last year, there were 160 issued in the same time frame.
As in January, each of Cobb’s six cities issued at least one permit in February — which never happened last year. Many cities often went months without issuing a permit in 2011, and Powder Springs failed to issue a single permit in all of last year but has issued one each month this year.
As usual, unincorporated Cobb issued the most permits in February with 47. Smyrna had the most among the cities with 19 permits, Kennesaw issued two, and Acworth, Austell, Marietta and Powder Springs rounded out the pack with one each.
Tom Heyer of Marietta, senior mortgage loan officer with SunTrust Mortgage in Kennesaw, said he and his company are seeing a pick-up in new construction in Cobb and the Atlanta markets.
“A lot of the loans that have come through lately are for new construction because all of those builders who could make it through this housing crisis and had deep pockets can now buy lots at a quarter of the price and sell for a quarter of the price that they were selling for,” Heyer said. “That makes the construction more affordable, so we’re seeing a lot more first-time homebuyers coming onto the market.”
Heyer said January’s new housing numbers matched November’s three-year high, so the market is starting to come back at a consistent pace. Heyer said he pays attention to the national numbers because they move the bottom market interest rates.
“Most say it was 2007/2008 when everything hit, so we’re starting to see a comeback, and you can definitely feel it,” Heyer said.
Heyer said one positive that seemed to come out of such a dismal economic and housing crisis over the past five years is that people are being smarter with their money.
“A lot more people are holding onto their cash because of what’s happened,” he said. “Over the past two weeks, the majority of people whom I’ve dealt with have said that when they get their IRS refunds, they’re going to pay off their credit card debts and keep that debt off. People are becoming better money managers, which is good.”
Heyer also said more people are renting out their homes rather than selling them.
“It’s a great time to buy, so a lot of people we’ve dealt with are buying new, but renting their old homes instead of selling them, which can be smart,” Heyer said.
Source: The Marietta Daily Journal
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