Make us your home page
Instagram

Home building rises in Tampa Bay to best level since 2008

Tampa Bay area home builders pounded more nails in the past three months than during any other quarter in the past three years.

Local builders started 1,158 homes in the third quarter. That's the most since the third quarter of 2008, when builders started 1,201 homes, according to Tampa's Metrostudy, a national company that tracks the construction industry.

Tony Polito, a housing consultant with Metrostudy, said the quarterly results are encouraging and continue to point to the 727 new starts in early 2009 as the bottom for the region. Starts should continue to rise because national builders aren't carrying a high inventory of new homes in the area, he said.

"If we stay out of recession and continue to add jobs, the housing market will continue to improve," Polito said. "If the builders feel confident, they will start more unsold units."

Compared with those in earlier periods, new starts are up 4 percent from the third quarter of 2010, up 15 percent from the second quarter of this year and up 41 percent from the first quarter.

The increase also occurred nationally. Housing starts jumped 15 percent in September, the most since April 2010, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Locally, builders closed deals on 1,255 units in the third quarter. That figure is down 12.5 percent from the third quarter of 2010, when a government tax credit artificially boosted closings. This year's third-quarter closings bested the second quarter's by 60 percent.

While housing starts have increased, employment in Florida's overall construction industry continues to decline, according to state figures.

Since the housing market crashed, builders have designed lower-priced houses to attract a bigger pool of buyers. For the 12 months ending in August, builders started 2,178 homes priced at less than $200,000 in the bay area, Polito said.

In the wake of the housing bust, lenders tightened standards and now require larger down payments for conventional loans. The alternatives are government-backed loans that require only a 3.5 percent down payment and a credit score of about 620 or better.

Financing still remains a problem, even with record low interest rates, said Jeff Thorson, Tampa division president for William Ryan Homes. First-time buyers and those looking for entry-level prices are having the most trouble getting loans, he added.

The company's starts rose from 15 in the second quarter to 21 in the third quarter.

"We have seen an increase in traffic," he said. "We're cautiously optimistic."

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Home building rises in Tampa Bay to best level since 2008 10/19/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  4. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride

    Florida

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  5. Would you let your company implant a chip in you?

    Working Life

    Would you ask an employee to get a chip implanted in her hand? Sounds invasive and intrusive. But come Aug. 1, one company in Wisconsin will be giving it a try.

    Three Square Market - a developer of software used in vending machines - is offering all of its employees the option to get a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger. [Photo from video]