New construction at a five year high

7:37 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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(AP image)

KENTWOOD, Mich., (WZZM) -- The U.S. Commerce Department says applications for new construction rose to a five year high. Building permits are up 14 percent, the highest since June 2008.

In West Michigan, home builders say business is definitely better. "I think in 2008, there was a lot of skepticism in the market. Confidence was down, housing values were down," says Mike McGivney, VP Sales for Allen Edwin Homes.

The Bretonfield development in Kentwood is a prime example. In 2008, there were 84 sites available, but only six were sold. It remained slow for four years, but in 2012, it picked back up. "In this community, sales are up. We're down to our last remaining five opportunities," said McGivney.

Allen-Edwin Homes is one of the top 100 home builders nationwide. McGivney says sales are up 40 percent. "Jobs are coming back. A lot of employers are bringing jobs to West Michigan and the economy is good. With interest rates below four percent, they get more home than in years past."

But, have home buyers learned their lesson from the recession? "I think today, they're being more responsible. They know they can afford more house, but living within their means. They're trying to be more comfortable, but more conscious of how much house they can afford and how much space they really need," said McGivney.

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