Panel sees housing improvements

Panel sees housing improvements
March 11
00:00 2013

Local real estate professionals say they finally see some light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel.

Professionals from across the Piedmont Triad attended Wharton Gladden’s Second Annual North Carolina Housing Summit on Feb. 21 at the Piedmont Club. Speakers included Lou Baldwin, owner and president of The Baldwin Companies, member of the National Association of Realtors Board and former president of North Carolina Association of Realtors; Gary Hill, president of the North Carolina Homebuilders Association; and Timothy Hose, president of the Apartment Association of North Carolina and president and CEO of SYNCO Properties.

“Some portions of our market are doing better than others,” said Hill.

In addition, lot availability is becoming a critical issue for homebuilders, he said, and availability of credit has impacted construction.

Hill said that the average price of a new single family home in North Carolina is $169,000. He said that across the state, more building permits are being issued, which is also true in Guilford County in 2012, but in Forsyth, building permits issued in 2012 declined.

Hose said apartment construction lending is also on the uptick.

“Apartments have been the glamor child of the industry,” Hose said, however, he is concerned about local governments saying “no” to rezoning for apartments. Hose said that rents are strong.

Baldwin said when the housing market is strong, it improves the outlook for a number of related services, everything from plumbing and pest control to landscaping and decorating.

“When a house is built or a house is sold, it puts a lot of money in the economy,” he said.

Algenon Cash, managing director of investment firm Wharton Gladden, asked the panelists if they expected the recovery to be sustained and what could threaten it.

“Builders are optimistic about what’s going to happen in the future; there seems to be a lot of optimism with caution,” Hill said. “It is a fragile recovery right now.”

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