Indianapolis-area homebuilding filings rise 13 percent

Single-family-building permit filings rose 13 percent in the nine-county area in August, the 14th straight month of year-over-year increases, the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis announced Wednesday.

BAGI said 463 permits were filed last month, up from 408 in August 2012. Year-to-date, filings have risen 25 percent from the same period a year ago.

Hamilton County was the busiest county in August with 176 permits filed, up 9 percent from August 2012.

Marion County filings rose 16 percent, to 79. Permits rose 55 percent in Johnson County, to 62, and 13 percent in Hendricks County, to 77.

No permits were filed in Madison County in August and just two were filed in Shelby County.

Overall, the August number was the highest since 469 permits were filed in 2008. Activity still pales compared to pre-recession numbers. More than 1,230 permits were filed in the area in 2005.

U.S. homebuilder confidence in the housing market held this month at its highest level in nearly eight years. But builders are starting to worry that sales may slow if mortgage rates continue to rise.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday registered at 58 this month. That's unchanged from August, which was revised down from an initial reading of 59.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

In the latest survey, a measure of current sales conditions was unchanged, while a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers rose one point. But builders' outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months fell three points.

"While builder confidence is holding at the highest level in nearly eight years, many are reporting some hesitancy on the part of buyers due to the sharp increase in interest rates," said Rick Judson, the NAHB's chairman.

Mortgage rates have risen more than a full percentage point since May, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke first indicated the Fed could slow its $85 billion a month in bond buying this year.


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