New-home construction in the Indianapolis area increased for the third consecutive month in October and could surpass last year’s activity if it finishes 2011 with two more solid months.
In the nine-county metropolitan area, the number of home-construction permits filed last month rose to 269, an increase of 16 percent from the same month in 2010, according to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis.
The number of filings through October is still 2 percent below last year’s level, but that translates to a difference of just 62 permits, which could be surpassed if increases maintain the levels of the past three months.
A total of 3,134 permits have been filed through October, compared with 3,196 during the first 10 months of 2010.
In Marion County, 44 single-family building permits were filed last month, an improvement of 29 percent over October 2010.
Hamilton County showed the biggest gain. The number of permits filed there last month jumped 56 percent, to 103. Permits rose 41 percent in Johnson County but fell by the same percentage in Hendricks County.
The nine-county area saw a 23-percent jump in permit filings in September and a 22-percent rise in August.
The year got off to a rocky start as the first three months of 2011 saw double-digit decreases in permits filed. Generous federal tax credits in early 2010 to help spur homebuying led to the dip this year.
BAGI CEO Steve Lains said he is encouraged by the uptick the past three months.
"For 2011 to end up the same or possibly even better than 2010, that shows some strength in the marketplace," he said. "That's a strong indicator that the market has stabilized and is starting to move in the right direction."
Despite the increase over 2010, building permits in October were still 26 percent below 2009's number and less than half the 626 permits filed in October 2007 prior to the latest recession.
Nationally, through September, single-family building permits are off 10 percent from the same time in 2010.