ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The numbers just out for December show new home sales fell 7.6%.Nationwide. In southwest Georgia builders say the industry has slowed but not stalled.
December's results were the weakest since March and are only four percent above the bottom last January. Builders in southwest Georgia say our region hasn't seen the fall like some others and they're hopeful 2010 will be an improvement over last year.
In Lee County's Indian Oaks Plantation, new homes continue to go up, although in the last year it's been at a slower pace. "We've got several houses under contract right now, we've got readily available inventory, there's a need for houses here in southwest Georgia," said Jonathan Hornick of Tall Pine Builders.
While sales were down drastically in December nationwide, Jonathan Hornick sold several new homes. He says builders in southwest Georgia haven't build beyond the market's means. "The builders probably did a good job managing their inventory."
Hornick says there are thousands of lots in Dougherty and Lee County that remain undeveloped. Contractors say work has been off pace this year, but not enough to add up to layoffs. "There have been some days where we don't do certain things, but as far as layoffs, no I haven't laid off any of my workers at this time," said Gerald Offord of G&G Contractors.
The economy has also changed what new home buyers are looking for. "Smaller homes with a few upgrades compared to monstrosities that people were looking at two years ago," said Hornick.
Home builders hope the extension of the home purchase tax credit through April might make those sitting on the fence more willing to buy.
Sales figures in the south haven't been as bad as elsewhere in the country. In the south sales fell by 7%, not bad compared to the mid-west where new home sales plummeted by 41%.
Builders hope sales will pick up closer to the April 30th deadline for the tax credit.
You can search for a home or apartment and find a realtor in the Albany area on the Internet at WALB HOMES.