LEE CO., GA (WALB) - The number of single-family homes being built in Georgia is increasing dramatically. And new home construction in South Georgia, especially the Albany area, is showing some of the largest gains in the state.
Experts said that's good news for the local economy.
"I know the open floor plan is the thing. The islands, the shiplap," said Owner of the Wright Company John Wright. Wright is also the president of the Home Builders Association of Albany and Southwest Georgia
Wright is finishing two homes now and is not slowing down.
The National Association of Home Builders reports across the nation that single-family housing starts rose by about 5 percent in its latest figures recorded by HUD and the Commerce Department.
In Georgia, NAHB said the starts of single-family homes has increased more than 13% over last year.
In the Albany area, the National Association's figures said single-family housing starts have increased 158% over the same period last year.
In Valdosta, the starts have increased by 81 percent.
Wright said that just three years ago many businesses in the Home Builders Association of Albany and Southwest Georgia were idle.
Today most of the builders have multiple clients under contract.
Wright said South Georgia's economic confidence seems to be the difference.
"Initially, people feel better about the economy, about their job situation. There is, they feel more stable in what's going on in the future, our leadership," explained Wright.
Wright said with interest rates creeping up, people who have been sitting on the fence are going ahead and buying.
The National Association Of Realtors this week said sales of existing homes fell last month. One reason is that there are not as many quality homes that people want to purchase, so, South Georgians seem to be building.
In the Albany area, Wright said the home building is pushing more economic growth.
"It's positive for everything. It attracts commercial development as a result of more rooftops. So, it's normally the beginning. Residential leads the way and then commercial comes afterward," said Wright.
Wright pointed out that Belmont Drive had only on home three years ago. Today, dozens are being lived in, and all around you, you see construction.
Home Builders said they are encouraged the growth will sustain.
"It's like there is traction to it. Hopefully, 2018 is a strong year for everybody," said Wright.
One of the only problems the Home Builders Association of Albany and Southwest Georgia is seeing with this growth is finding enough people to do the home building.
Wright said there is a real need for experienced builders and more men and women willing to train.