From January through May, builders pulled a total of 467 permits for new single-family homes in unincorporated Cobb and its six cities. The first five months of 2011 saw a total of 406 such permits pulled.
In April and May, unincorporated Cobb saw the most activity, with a total of 143 permits pulled, nearly double the 78 permits pulled in those same months in 2011.
The city of Smyrna reported 37 permits pulled in the months of April and May, down from the 48 pulled in those months in 2011.
Marietta saw 19 new-home permits for those two months this year, just one more than for the same months in 2011.
Acworth issued 11 permits during April and May, a nice uptick from the two spring months in 2011, when the city saw zero new-home permits.
The city of Kennesaw issued exactly four such permits for the two-month period in this year and last.
Austell reported zero permits for April and May this year, though Cobb’s smallest city did have two such permits in those months of 2011.
Powder Springs, meanwhile, saw zero new-home permits in those months for 2012 and 2011.
“One definite sign that things may be improving is that our phone is starting to ring again,” said Ben Brewer, owner of Marietta-based Brewer Builders, Inc. “Also, some of our suppliers and tradesmen are telling us about increases in their own business activity.”
But Brewer pointed out that high jobless numbers and foreclosure rates continue to damage the industry.
“The housing market is still battling strong negative pressure while trying to make up a lot of lost ground,” Brewer said.
Lennar Homes has opened three subdivisions in east Cobb this year and is planning a fourth.
“We ... are encouraged by the increase in traffic and sales in our communities,” said Ginny Bryant, Lennar Atlanta sales director.
Real estate broker Tina Fountain said she has noticed a dramatic dwindling of housing inventory in the last eight months, but said prices remain low.
“We are having difficulty finding our buyers the right home because there is a lack of inventory,” Fountain said. “We are seeing a lot of short sales, but fewer foreclosures. The builders seem to be coming back some, and low inventory will motivate new construction at some point. However, despite the low inventory, prices are struggling to go up.”