Signs of an economic rebuild seen in construction

Signs of an economic rebuild seen in construction

 

EUGENE, Ore. - After years on life support, signs of life are now beginning to show in the Oregon housing market. That's according to a new University of Oregon report on the state of the economy.

Last winter Eugene contractor David Smith was worried that he wouldn't be able to build any new homes this year. Now, business is booming.

Smith said the numbers seem to point to a market that is reviving. 

"I can only judge by my own business but we're as busy as we've ever ever been." said Smith.

The new University of Oregon's economic report shows single family home permits climbing from 735 in March to nearly 950 in August. Economists said it's a trend that extends far past Portland.

"I think that speaks to improving conditions for builders, particularly since we've had this long period of which very few homes were built," said U.O. economist Tim Duy.

Another Eugene contractor, Dane Butler, is just starting two new homes near Cal Young Road.

"With the rates the way they are, you're finding buyers out there that think it's the right time to get back into the market." Butler said.

Reporter Tom Adams asked David Smith, "What's the difference?  What explains this trend?"  Smith replied, "I think people are just sensing a recovery.  I think they're sensing that you know, I better do it now while interest rates are still low."

He doesn't advertise and barely has a website but Smith looks ahead to a robust 2013.

"And I've already completed one and I have 4 more pre-sold homes," added Smith.

As for the Tim Duy economic report--he said another key pointing to a better Oregon economy is a sharp drop in initial unemployment claims.  Duy said they have hit the lowest level in five years.