In a Charlotte Sun article today, it appears our area is well on its way to recovery as new building starts continue to make great strides. Several months back the City of Punta Gorda stated building permits for residential new construction starts was on target to reach 50, up from approximately 36 the year before.
Today’s article seems to indicate this is not a local trend. According to Sarasota Building Official Greg Yantorno, 686 permits were granted in 2012 with 461 of those permits approved for areas south of Blackburn Rd in Nokomis and 225 to the north. Also noted where the over 900 permits that were in the pipeline for Sarasota county. While this may be down from the 2,400 permits issued during the height of the market, it is a clear signal that inventory levels of existing homes are down and there is a renewed confidence for new home construction.
Patrick Neal of Neal Communities, builders of homes in such communities as Palmer Ranch, and their $800 million project in Grand Palms, off Center Road in Venice, as well as the up to 500 homes projected in Boca Royale Golf and Country Club development in Englewood, says they are investing in the South Venice and Englewood areas as these are areas of great growth potential.
Greg Lapinsky, General Manager for Pulte Homes says they have seen the same resurgence as evidenced by the success of their Island Walk community located in North Port’s West Villages. Lapinsky characterizes today’s buyer as being a “more cautious northerner…half who are paying cash, and looking to buy as much home as possible without looking as much at zip code.” He continued by saying, “they are looking for nature walks, preserves and maintenance free living”… looking to “see Florida,” as more and more people are looking to enjoy the year round outdoor lifestyle that Florida has to offer.
The city of Punta Gorda seems to recognize that same interest with the near completion of their “Linear Park,” which is a walk way taking you through all the highlights around the city that include waterfront parks.
Robert Denk, Senior Economist with National Home Builders Association, said the U.S. averaged 1.3 million new residential building starts however, after 2009 it dropped to 27% but by 2013 it should be back up to 51% and by 2014 is projected to rise to about 70% of pre downturn levels. Florida it was stated averaged 127,000 new starts per year and dropped to 15%. By the end of 2013 it is projected the state will rebound to about 40% of pre downturn levels and 50% by 2014.
While Charlotte’s “West County,” south Sarasota and Englewood are seeing a more significant uptick as evidenced by Charlottes 29% increase in new starts, remodeling permits are also up. It is not uncommon to see $30,000 permits for kitchen remodels and $50,000 for pools. Monthly permit approvals have jumped from 7-8 per month to 25-30, a clear indication consumer confidence is on the rise.
Tom Danahy, President of Kitson Babcock, a division of Kitson Partners, said they are seeing the same trends. Danahy stated that typically 300,000-400,000 people move to Florida each year and a recent report showing Florida had a net gain of over 200,000 people moving to the sunshine state which ranks Florida within the top three states with that kind of population growth; Texas and California being the other two states.
However, of the states with the most robust growth most affected by the downturn, Florida appears to be the fastest on the road to recovery, and with prices in many areas not only stabilizing but showing signs of increase, now could be your last opportunity to get the most home for your dollar as inventory levels are much more in line with market consumption. While it was noted that new home starts priced over $400,000 still may prove a bit more challenging than those priced in the more affordable price ranges, we are seeing a greater number of homes being viewed that are priced above $500,000 than we have in the past few years, another sign we are well on the road to recovery!!!