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Metro-area building activity dips in April

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Permits filed for new-home construction in the Indianapolis area slipped in April, ending a two-month spike that had builders optimistic about a recovery.

Single-family building permits filed last month in the nine-county area totaled 352, a 2-percent decrease from April 2011, according to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis. Permit filings had risen 6 percent in March and 40 percent in February.

Despite the decline, building activity through the first four months of the year is stronger than it was during the same period a year ago. Through April, the number of area permits filed totaled 1,224, an 8-percent increase compared with the first four months of 2011.

“You’re seeing a market that is slowly creeping out of the bottom, and you’re going to have these little nuances that occur,” BAGI CEO Steve Lains said of the disappointing April. “Just like the economic recovery that everybody is getting nervous about, we’re all kind of watching and are cautiously optimistic.”

Hamilton County last month recorded 145 permits, the most of the metro-area counties, but saw a 4-percent decrease from April 2011.

In Marion County, builders filed 61 permits, just one more than they did last April.

Building activity fell significantly in Hendricks County, where 37 building permits were filed last month, a 37-percent decrease from April 2011. Last month’s drop in the county followed a strong March, in which permit activity increased 36 percent from March 2011.

Lains said he remains upbeat and expects activity for the entire year to be up between 5 percent and 10 percent from 2011.

“We’re comfortable and confident that things are moving in the right direction,” he said.

Though building activity is trending up in 2012, it’s still much weaker than it was five years ago before the housing market went into a severe tailspin. In the first four months of 2007, for instance, building permits totaled 2,456, twice the number through April of this year.
 

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