Residential building activity levels off after surge

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The number of building permits issued in the nine-county Indianapolis area in the first five months of 2010 has risen 35 percent from the same period last year, but activity has slowed significantly in the past two months.

New-home permits in May totaled 349, just a 2-percent increase from May 2009, according to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis. The number was a slight improvement over the previous month of 328 and unchanged from April 2009.

By comparison, permits in January climbed 119 percent from the same time last year, and February and March saw increases of 51 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

The drop off in the past two months can be traced to the expiration of a federal tax credit that rewarded both new homebuyers and existing owners.

Federal law provided an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers for homes purchased or under contract through April 30. It also created a $6,500 tax break for existing homeowners who had lived in their current residence for at least five years.

A new home under contract by April 30 needs to be closed on by June 30 to take advantage of the credits, providing extra motivation for builders to construct homes on a speculative basis.

“For the most part, builders had to pull a permit in March to make June,” said Bruce Craig, Indianapolis division president of Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA. “A lot of the demand you see was due to the tax credit.”

Craig is cautiously optimistic the new-housing market is beginning to rebound this year, particularly because permit numbers haven’t fallen below previous-year levels.

Figures from BAGI show the number of building permits filed in the nine-county area last year fell 21 percent from 2008.

“The fact that we’re flat (in April and May), I view that as pretty encouraging,” Craig said.

In Marion County, 364 permits were filed this year through May, a 27-percent increase compared with the year-ago period.

Hendricks County saw a 36-percent increase through the first five months, while Hamilton County experienced a 21-percent jump. Hamilton County recorded 664 permits through May, the most in the nine-county metropolitan area.


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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?