Archive for Thursday, July 1, 2004

Areawide building pace up, but local numbers are down

July 1, 2004

Fluctuating mortgage rates did little to slow the record residential growth the Kansas City area is experiencing, according to figures released last week by the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

Last month, developers received 929 single-family permits compared to the 939 permits that were issued in May 2003, the largest volume month of May on record. Likewise, 4,622 single-family permits have been issued so far this year, besting the 4,237 permits issued last year as well as the previous record from 1999, the HBA reported.

"What we have been seeing represents a continuing up-tick in activity," said Tim Underwood, executive vice president of the HBA.

More locally, Basehor's figures remained nearly consistent with last year's. So far, builders in Basehor have pulled 25 permits, compared to 29 a year ago.

"Obviously, numbers in that range indicate that things are staying pretty constant," he said. "It is a nice little market that has stayed fairly strong."

Similarly, Bonner Springs' permits dipped slightly, from 13 last year to nine this year. Wyandotte County's figures are up a total of 17 percent, 202 compared to 173, and Leavenworth County's figures are up 42 percent, 214 compared to 151.

"There is a lot going on in Wyandotte County as far as jobs being created," he said. "That has probably driven the market around that area."

Meanwhile, Shawnee figures dipped slightly as 23 fewer permits, 243 compared to 266, have been issued thus far this year. However, Shawnee remains the fifth largest city in the area in terms of volume of permits issued, behind only Overland Park, Lee's Summitt, Olathe and Kansas City, Mo.

"Shawnee has a variety of products and housing options to propel its market," Underwood said.

While year-to-date numbers are up for metropolitan area, things may slow down a bit. Underwood said that mortgage rates reached a low in March at around 5.38 percent before swelling nearly a point and finally settling in the middle.

"(The fact that a large number of permits have been issued) shows that builders in the area have confidence in the market," he said.

Underwood added that the March rates may prove to be the lowest of the year and that rates will likely stay constant or increase slowly.

"I think they have bottomed out already," he said. "We may see a slight increase the rest of the year."

That increase may prove to dictate how 2004's numbers compare to last year's come December.

"I would say I would be surprised if we do anything more than in 2003," he said. "But I don't think they will drop off either. I think they will be right on par with 2003."

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