Home builders in the Indianapolis area may have reason to be optimistic this year judging by the increased demand shown for new houses in 2012.
The number of single-family building permits in the nine-county area jumped 9 percent in December and even more—16 percent—for the entire year, according to figures released Wednesday by the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis.
Overall, builders filed 4,182 permits in 2012, up from 3,614 in 2011. It's the first time the number surpassed the 4,000 mark since 2008, when 4,688 permits were filed.
In addition, the 16-percent spike was the biggest year-over-year percentage increase since 1998.
“It says a lot about the strength of our local industry for permits to increase that much for the first time in 14 years,” BAGI CEO Steve Lains said in a written statement. “I am excited to see what 2013 will bring.”
The number of building permit filings now has climbed for six straight months after dipping 3 percent in June. Further, seven months in 2012 saw double-digit increases.
Last year’s increase marks just the second time since 2005 that area home construction improved from the previous year. That year, 13,202 permits were filed, up from 13,046 in 2004. Permit filings rose 3 percent from 2009 to 2010, to 3,720. But generous federal tax incentives available to home buyers in early 2010 played a big role in the increase.
While home building rose in 2012, activity is far behind the pace set before the recession. Almost twice as many permits—7,331—were filed in 2007. More than 9,500 were filed in 2006.
For December, 275 permits were filed in the area, up from 252 in the previous year. The most permits—110—were filed in Hamilton County, which posted a 17-percent increase from the previous December. The number of permits in Marion County rose 10 percent, to 46.
Just 27 permits were filed in Boone County last month, but that was good enough for a 69-percent increase from December 2011. Filings fell 17 percent in Hendricks County in December, to 30 permits. Johnson County filings remained flat, at 35.