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Daily Real Estate News Monday, November 28, 2011

Builders mostly have stayed on the sidelines the last few years in many metro areas while construction permits and housing starts have dropped to only a fraction of what they once were during the housing boom days and even prior to that. But in many areas across the country, housing starts and permits at least leveling off. What’s more, in some places they’re rising.

The cities that are seeing the most construction activity in single-family homes and multifamily units are ones that experienced only a mild recession so they have “less ground to make up during the recovery,” as well as areas with population growth, an article at U.S. News & World Reports notes. For example, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Texas, and Omaha, Neb., are nearly back to normal construction-permit activity.

“What you’re going to start to see is construction activity pick up in parts of the country where, although we have an excess supply of homes nationally, we don’t in that location,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, told U.S. News & World Reports. “The fact that we have vacant inventory is a national phenomenon, (but) we don’t have vacant inventory in certain markets, which means new construction is going to pick up in some of these markets.”

The top 10 metro areas by construction activity in the third quarter of 2011 are:

1. Houston
2. Dallas
3. Raleigh, N.C.
4. Omaha, Neb.
5. Austin, Texas
6. Salt Lake City
7. Charleston, S.C.
8. Charlotte, N.C.
9. San Antonio, Texas
10. Tacoma, Wash.

Source: “Where Builders Are Breaking Ground,” U.S. News & World Report (November 2011)

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