Written by Kera Mashek, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -
After the housing bubble burst in 2008, new home starts sank. Now, the pace of homebuilding activity is soaring nationwide, reaching the highest levels in four years. In fact, in Black Hawk County alone, new home permits have nearly doubled over the past year.
Alicia Rosburg and her husband just moved into their brand new home in Cedar Falls.
"After about six months of searching, we really didn't find anything that had all of our wants and needs, but once we saw the options we had and what we could get for the money building, it was a very easy process and we were happy that we did it," Rosburg said.
And the Rosburgs are part of a growing trend. New home construction business is surging in the Cedar Valley.
"We just continue to see inquiries day in and day out. The phone really hasn't stopped ringing, and it's surprising about the number of calls there are and what they're looking for," said Craig Fairbanks of Fairbanks Homes.
Contractors credit the stable local economy and historically low interest rates for spurring development. In Waterloo, a tax abatement program that started last summer has also helped encourage home building. Even low lumber prices are helping make new home buying affordable.
"With the low cost of construction, take a serious look at your buying power now versus what it could be as things start to move forward," said Kevin Fittro of Skogman Homes.
Right now, there are so many houses being hammered away on in the Cedar Valley there are few open lots of people to build homes on.
In fact, at Quail Ridge in Cedar Falls there are only about a half dozen empty lots left. And the benefits of this building blitz extend far beyond the job site.
"From furniture sales to appliances to lenders, your local lenders, your suppliers, your retail stores, they're all benefiting from it," said Fittro.
That means stronger communities are being built, one home at a time.
Experts say if you're looking to built a new home, now is the time to get started. As demand grows, construction supply costs will climb. And this fall, new code requirements in Cedar Falls and Waterloo will tack on extra costs to the price of new home builds.
The first stop was the World War II Memorial, where one family was anxiously awaiting the arrival of their veteran, Lyle Swan. They drove all night from Kentucky and Tennessee just to see him arrive.More >>
The first stop was the World War II Memorial, where one family was anxiously awaiting the arrival of their veteran, Lyle Swan. They drove all night from Kentucky and Tennessee just to see him arrive, and cheered as he rolled close.More >>
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