Demand for housing on the rise in the county
by Sheri Kell
October 10, 2012 01:54 AM | 4218 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Above: Benjamin Juarez takes measurements on the top of a wall, as construction workers build a house by Ashton Woods Homes in Smyrna. <br> Photo by Emily Barnes
Above: Benjamin Juarez takes measurements on the top of a wall, as construction workers build a house by Ashton Woods Homes in Smyrna.
Photo by Emily Barnes
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MARIETTA — Cobb County and its six cities saw more positive news in the single-family housing construction sector in September. Collectively, the county and cities issued more than double the number of single-family housing permits than the same month last year.

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, builder confidence in the market for new single-family houses rose for a fifth consecutive month in September to its highest level since June 2006.

For the month, unincorporated Cobb County and its six cities issued 89 total housing permits, as compared to 37 in September 2011. In unincorporated Cobb, 61 permits were issued. Of the cities, Smyrna led with 15 as a result of several neighborhoods that are under construction.

Marietta issued eight permits. Acworth reported three, and Kennesaw issued two permits during the month.

The cities of Powder Springs and Austell had none.

Year-to-date, 873 permits have been issued countywide, a 38 percent increase over the 632 permits that were issued during the same time period in 2011.

Terri Bunten Guthrie, executive vice president and chief lending officer of First Landmark Bank in Marietta, said her bank has seen more builder requests for construction loans in the last two to three months.

“It is refreshing to see builder activity in both pre-sale contract and the spec markets,” Guthrie said. “Initially we saw improvement in products geared toward the first-time homebuyer. Without an existing home to sell, these buyers are positioned to more quickly enter the market.”

Bunten said she is encouraged by more activity at higher price points, the “move-up market” that leads to re-sales.

“The financial benefits related to residential real estate construction are far reaching, providing much needed revenue to the private and public coffers,” she said. “As with all financial institutions, and most builders that remain, we are cautiously optimistic.”
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