Construction of new homes on the rise in Southeast Missouri

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Peyton and Lydia Weber play out front of their new home as Brent Forck, right, Lard Daniels and Trent Crowden of Lawn Designs & Guttering measure out 70 feet of seamless aluminum gutter to attach to the rear of the house Tuesday morning at Cambridge Estates in Jackson. (Laura Simon)

Builders in Jackson have put up almost as many new homes in the first six months of the year as during all of 2011.

Through June, 33 building permits for new single-family homes valued at $6.9 million were granted by the city of Jackson, according to city records. Last year 38 new homes were constructed in Jackson, a decrease of 12 homes compared with 2010.

"There are more people out there looking right now to build a house," said contractor Brandon Williams, who estimates his business has increased about 25 percent in the first half of this year, compared with last year.

The city seems to be following a national trend of increasing new home starts, which last month hit their highest level since October 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Nationwide, housing permits are up 29 percent in the first six months of the year compared to one year earlier.

Record-low mortgage rates are motivating many buyers, Williams said. Rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage are in the neighborhood of 3 percent.

"It's cheaper to own a home than to pay rent right now on some of the smaller homes," he said. He's seeing the most interest from buyers looking to build homes less than $200,000. Spec homes are also selling well, he said.

"Every time one pops up it's sold pretty quickly," he said.

Contractor Jason Weber was building a spec home in Jackson when he sold his own home to a prospective buyer instead, so now he's moving into it himself.

"I believe it's definitely picking up," Weber said. "We have a lot of custom homes going up and the $300,000-plus range homes have picked up too. Building in that price range has been slow over the past few years."

In the past few years, with the market flooded with foreclosures, homebuyers could get more house for their money by purchasing an existing home.

Jeff Martin, broker/manager at Realty Executives, said this is no longer the case as fewer foreclosures and short sales aren't pushing appraisals down like they had been.

For many would-be homebuyers, building is an attractive option.

"You can pick exactly what you want when you are building as opposed to buying an existing home and having to remodel it. There are a lot of folks who like to start with a blank slate," Martin said.

Real estate agents are also seeing an increase in sales of land for residential homes this year. Much of this is happening in the Jackson area, because there aren't as many new developments in Cape Girardeau or as much land available for building, Martin said.

"There are a number [of developments] that have gotten started in Jackson and now are beginning to take hold," he said.

Building permits in Cape Girardeau are on pace with last year, with 25 single family homes started so far this year with a value of $4.3 million. In the first six months of 2011 construction began on 22 homes, according to city records.

New commercial construction in Cape Girardeau totaled $7.3 million, with a new surgery center at 65 Doctors' Park and Banterra Centre on Kingshighway accounting for most of it.

In Jackson only one commercial building permit has been issued this year. The permit was for the Bread of Life Church on West Jackson Trail, valued at $2.3 million.

Multifamily housing construction is also picking up in both Cape Girardeau and Jackson.

Five building permits have been issued for duplexes in Cape Girardeau valued at $1.3 million while four have been issued in Jackson valued at 1.5 million. In all of 2011, Jackson issued permits for two duplexes and Cape Girardeau issued permits for one from January through July of last year.

Cape Girardeau also has two new apartment complexes under construction, valued at $2.6 million. There were no apartments under construction during the first half of 2011.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Jackson, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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