Twin Cities Home Construction Up This Winter

Homebuilders in the Twin Cities are keeping busy this winter compared to last year. Builders filed 177 permits to build a total of 202 housing units in February. That was an increase of 65% and 71%, respectively, over February of 2009, when builders filed 107 permits to build 118 units.

Between December through February, builders of Twin Cities homes have filed 626 permits to build about $207 million worth of residential housing, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities Keystone Report. During those months a year ago, builders filed just 392 permits for less than $147 million in construction.

"Anecdotal reports from builders confirm that there are area families out looking and buying new homes in the past two months," association President Gary Aulik said in a statement. The spring Parade of Homes, which brings traffic into home models, begins Friday. With fewer than 60 days until the home-buying incentives end, some builders ... are also offering special financing and other incentives to get house hunters to act."

In February, Farmington led the metro in building activity with permits filed to build 19 units. Lakeville, Shakopee and Vadnais Heights followed with permits filed to build 12 units each. The market for new homes isn't anything like it was a few years ago: In 2005, 542 permits were issued for a total of 872 units in February.

The home selling season is expected to start early this year as home buyers venture out now because the home buying tax credits expire April 30.

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