Portland -- Last year ended with what looked like the turning point for the rebound of home construction. Housing starts in December were at the highest level they’ve been since June of 2008.
After years of getting hammered by the recession the home construction is starting to be rebuilt.
“It's about finding the right lots and getting homes built as fast as you can,” said Jason Wood from Fish Construction Northwest.
Fish Construction Northwest has two projects underway. Six homes on North Lombard Street are being built on spec -- something unheard of years ago.
“Portland is kind of a unique market in the in-fill stuff. Most of the building is spec because that's when buyers decide what they want is new...and look for what's out here,” Wood said.
Across the country home construction is up with 2012 coming in as the best year for residential construction since the housing crisis began. The national average in December was 12.1 percent, but in the Portland metro area it was much higher.
“Single family was up about 34 percent. Multifamily was up about a ton. Apartments, town homes, condos, over all home-building activity was up about 67 percent,” Said Dave Nielsen, CEO of the Portland Home Builders Association.
A recent study by the Portland Home Builders Association found the ripple effect of home construction creates many waves.
“Just in the metropolitan Portland area for every 100 homes that are built, it generates over 20 million dollars in income and revenue to local businesses in the area. It generates almost 4 million in tax revenues and it generates over 300 hundred jobs,” Nielson said.
The surge in construction is putting subs back on the job after some very lean years.
“We're swamped right now with new construction. It's kind of shocking. We figured we'd be slowed down in the winter time but we're staying busy pretty good now,” said Norman Betrous with Bliss roofing.
Also helping to keep the momentum going are lenders who are starting to loosen the purse strings.
“Right now with mortgage rates being a cheap as they are most of those buyers can come in and buy a house cheaper for less than they can rent an apartment for,” Wood said.
With lower inventories and rising home prices plus fewer foreclosures, the Portland Home Builders Association expect construction to continue to be strong for the next several years.