Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

Home construction hits four-year high in September

WASHINGTON — U.S. builders started construction on homes in September at the fastest rate since July 2008 and made plans to build even more homes in the coming months. The gains show the housing recovery is strengthening and could help the economy grow.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that home construction rose 15 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000. Single-family construction rose 11 percent to the fastest rate in four years. Apartment building increased 25.1 percent.

Applications for building permits, a sign of future construction, jumped nearly 12 percent to an annual rate of 894,000, also the highest since July 2008.

"If there was any doubt that the housing market was undergoing a recovery, even a modest one in the face of the terrible 2008 decline, those doubts should be erased by now," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.

The construction rate has increased by more than 38 percent over the past 12 months.

In the Tampa Bay area in recent months, home builders have scooped up land, retooled sales pitches and revived planned communities paralyzed by the housing bust.

Sprawling subdivisions from Wesley Chapel to Apollo Beach are rumbling with new construction as builders rush to open model homes, secure buyers and close on deals.

Builders in the bay area pulled more than 3,800 new permits for single-family homes in the first eight months of 2012, a 26 percent jump over the same period in 2011, U.S. Census data show.

Nationally, housing starts are now 82.5 percent above the recession low rate of 478,000 hit in April 2009. That's still well short of the 1.5 million that economists consider healthy and far below the more than 2 million built in 2007 — the peak of the housing boom. But the upward trend suggests builders believe the housing rebound is durable.

Patrick Newport, U.S. economist at HIS Global Insight, said the report "is telling us that the housing market is improving and there is no reason to think that this will not continue going forward."

Record-low mortgage rates, stable price increases and a limited supply of previously occupied homes have made newly built homes more attractive to buyers. Builder confidence is at a six-year high, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National Association of Home Builders. And the Federal Reserve's aggressive policies could push long-term interest rates even lower.

Newport said housing starts should total 750,000 for the year. He expects starts will climb to 950,000 next year and 1.27 million in 2014. By 2015, he said home construction should reach more than 1.5 million.

Information from Times files was used in this report.

Comments
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. In preliminary findings of ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18