Like the first bloom of spring, the appearance of signs guiding buyers to new home sites are sprouting up in some Truckee Meadows neighborhoods may be reason for optimism after a long economic winter.
Don't look now, but here and there, new homes are are being built..
"It's encouraging," says Executive Director Mike Dillon of the Builders Association of Northern Nevada. "It's really nice to see some positive changes at this moment."
Dillon does worry about the number of potential foreclosures still waiting to move through the system. but he's enjoying the moment.
"I'm always a little cautiously optimistic."
It's been a long time since Dillon has been able to be even that upbeat.
Housing construction with all its jobs crashed with the recession.
All the foreclosures that followed left a ready inventory of empty homes for those still in the market.
But last year concerns about mortgage fraud led the legislature to pass AB284 which added protections for homeowners behind in payments and increased penalties and paperwork for lenders.
That has slowed the foreclosure rates. That inventory of available homes is shrinking and that has helped fuel, for the moment at least, the market for new homes.
"We're seeing a major increase right now in new home sales and our builders are busier than they've been in a long, long time," says Dillon. "I think you're really finding a huge demand for people moving into that market right now in new homes."
Dillon says the industry is on pace to build 700 new homes this year. That's a fraction of the 5,000 we once saw, but more that double what we've seen in recent years.
In fact, the housing industry is encouraged enough to hold a self-guided new home tour....The Hunt for New Homes...next month. That's something they haven't done since 2007.
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