South Georgia homebuilders hope a big boost in their business this year will continue next year. Several contractors say they're busier than they've been in years as confidence in the economy improves.
Just in Dougherty County construction permits for single family homes jumped from 33 last year to 46 so far this year. Builders hope that trend continues.
Many homebuilders around Southwest Georgia say the construction of new homes has been on the rise within the last year and half. Terry Merchant has built a dozen homes this year.
"There's been a lot of building going on, I've done a lot of construction and other builders in this area. I've done a lot all over Dougherty, Lee County and things are looking really good," Terry Merchant.
Another builder says he's sold more homes recently than usual.
"I've sold two within the last month, which is real uncommon for the months of November and December," said Chad Oosterveen.
Homebuilders credit the increase to home buyer's confidence.
"Home buyers are starting to see the inventory of homes. They may not be exactly what they're looking for in an existing home so they look to homebuilders for building them something custom where they can get exactly what they want," said Merchant.
Homebuilders say their work was limited after the housing market crashed back in 2008.
"We maybe had one house going on, two but a lot more remodels, re-dos," said Oosterveen.
Several sub-contractors such as plumbers and electricians are now getting back into the industry after getting out due to a lack of work.
"My plumber had gotten out for a couple of years and now he's back into the building business. He has been for a couple of years and it's been good for him," said Andy Cooper.
Cooper believes South Georgia needs to attract more industry to keep the homebuilding trend up.
"We need positive growth, that's what drives the homebuilding business is people moving in this area and people not leaving," said Cooper.
The homebuilders say they are optimistic that their work will continue to increase next year. The National Association of Home Builders sentiment index climbed to 58 this month. That's up four points up from November and matches an eight year high.Experts say index readings above 50 indicate home sales conditions are good.