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New home building boom

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January 22, 2003

Lee County-- Who doesn't want to build their dream home? Well, these days, it's becoming much more common.

With interest rates so low, it seems like lenders are giving money away. And, people are taking advantage -- construction of new homes and apartments surged by five percent in December, the strongest level in 16 years. And, new home owners say it's a builders market.

Just a few things remain to be done before Greg Phillips moves into his dream home, "We planned to build 10 years after we married, because that's when we'd have the financial stuff in line."

So after ten years of saving and planning, his 3,000 square foot home is almost done. It's even better than Greg anticipated-- thanks to low interest rates, "Cabinets for instance-- get a lower grade, now stepped up a bit spend more money on that."

"You can do two things, get more house for your money or payments are lower." Greg's builder, David Roberts, says today's building boom is due in large part to low interest rates, "Interest rates now for 30 year loans at 5.75% and 15 year loans at 5.25%, so it's almost like giving money away--it's great rates."

And, Roberts thinks these great rates, and a roller coaster stock market, are making more people consider investing in a new home, "Stock market is volatile but a home is always a good investment and maybe people are taking their money and investing it in property."

Builders broke ground on 1.8 million new homes and apartments nationwide last month. And if building permits are any indication, activity will remain strong--permits were up eight percent in December.

Posted at 4:15 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com