Area home builders saw more demand for new homes in the first quarter than they have since 2006, according to a report released Thursday by the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis.
Builders filed 1,698 single-family construction permits in the nine-county area in the first three months of the year, a 30 percent increase over the 1,310 permits they filed during the same period in 2017, BAGI said.
It was the busiest first quarter since 2,712 permits were filed during the first three months of 2006.
Builders filed 723 permits in the area in March, up 18 percent over the 614 permits that were filed in March 2017. It was also the busiest March for permit filings since 2006, when 1,118 were filed.
Area filings have been on the rise in 26 of the last 28 months on a year-over-year basis.
“This Q1 has surpassed our expectations,” BAGI CEO Steve Lains said in written comments. “As the market demand continues to surpass the existing inventory of finished and for-sale new homes, the surge in new home starts is likely due to the anticipation of what are historically considered the strongest selling seasons of spring and summer.”
Lains, however, said the pace might slow as the year goes along.
“Although this first quarter increase was higher than predicted, we are not yet changing our forecasted cumulative growth of 5-10 percent for the year,” he said. “The consensus is that the surge in permits early in the year will be offset by a normalization of volume as the year progresses, like the pattern we saw in 2017.”
Lains said factors that could prevent higher demand include “lack of available labor, material price increases, and land available to rezone at price points below $250,000, the largest consumer market segment in the metro area.”
Marion County saw a 44 percent increase in filings in March, from 106 to 153.
Hamilton County led the area in filings with 293, an increase of 24 percent from the previous March.
Hendricks County saw 69 filings in March, down 20 percent.
Filings dipped by 14 percent in Johnson County, to 64. They rose 43 percent in Boone County, to 60.
Filings were up 23 percent in Hancock County, to 48, and rose from 14 to 18 in Morgan County.
Permits rose from six to 10 in Shelby County and fell from 10 to eight in Madison County.