Accelerating strength in Twin Cities home construction

The home construction industry is seeing persuasive indications of a rebound in Minneapolis/St. Paul, according to numbers compiled for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).

So far this year the number of residential construction permits, units permitted, and the dollar value of the permits are all running well ahead of levels in past years.

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The cumulative permit value of $788 million from January through July is 46 percent greater than during the same period in 2011. The 3,953 units permitted from January through July is a whopping 72 percent above last year’s level.

“The market continues to strengthen,” said BATC president Curt Christensen. He pointed out that the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed an increase of 1.3 percent nationally in April, the first reading in positive territory in seven months. “At the same time mortgage rates have dropped to an all-time low and locally, we’ve seen several months of positive sales reports from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors,” Christensen said.

The BATC says two large projects, one in Ramsey (230 units) and another in St. Louis Park (122 units) boosted the total number of housing units permitted in the month of July, “however single-family activity continued strong, with an almost 60 percent increase this July over July 2011.”

The construction industry posted some of the biggest employment declines of the great recession. But the rebound in home-building appears to be helping employment in the industry. In the first half of this year, construction employment is 4 percent or roughly 3,500 jobs above year-ago levels.

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