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Area home-building activity up in first quarter

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New-home construction in the Indianapolis metropolitan area surged during the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year, bolstered by stronger activity the past two months.

Permits filed in the first three months of the year in the nine-county area totaled 872, a 13-percent increase, according to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis.

March filings rose 6 percent, from 374 to 395. But the number of permits filed in February jumped a whopping 40 percent compared to the same month in 2011, helping builders rebound from a sluggish January.

The first month of the year is typically slow for building permits. Just 196 were filed in January, a 1-percent dip from last year.

In March, Hamilton County registered 148 permits, the most of the metro-area counties. Yet, it registered a decrease of 6 percent from March 2011.

In Marion County, builders filed 63 permits in March, just one fewer than they did last March.

Building activity was strongest in Hendricks County, where 75 building permits were filed last month, a 36-percent increase from March 2011.

Though building activity is trending up in 2012, it’s still well behind the pace set before the recession. In the first three months of 2007, for instance, area building permits totaled 1,676, almost double the first quarter of 2012. In the first quarter of 2006, 2,712 permits were filed—more than three times as many as the most recent quarter.

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