In Southwest Florida and nationally, builders feel things are looking up
By ALEX VEIGA AP Real Estate Writer
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 9:07 p.m.
Confidence among U.S. home builders rose this month to its highest level in six years, and many expect the housing recovery will strengthen in the next six months.
"We think things have turned around and this recovery is sustainable."
– Patrick Newport,
an economist with
IHS Global Insight
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday increased to 40 in September. That is up from 37 in August and the highest reading since June 2006 -- just before the housing bubble burst.
Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index has not reached that level since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.
Still, a measure of builders' outlook for sales in the next six months rose to 51. That is up from 43 in August and also the highest level since June 2006.
Builders reported seeing the best sales level since July 2006. Turnout by prospective buyers returned to levels not seen since May 2006.
The positive trends have helped bolster optimism that the U.S. housing recovery will endure.
In Southwest Florida
That optimism was first seen in Southwest Florida in places like Lakewood Ranch, where home construction has been rising for all of 2012. But that activity seems to have spread to most parts of the region.
During a traditionally slow time of the year, this summer has been one for the record books in the post-Great Recession world. In June, for example, Sarasota County government issued 117 permits, the highest number since June 2006. In July, the average value for a newly permitted home hit $332,000, the highest its been since September 2008.