KAYSVILLE – “It’s not near what we’d hope but there is more interest” in new home construction, said Kaysville-based home builder Scott Martineau.
His family has been in the custom home construction business since 1979, when his father started the firm.
“Obviously our market is a lot slower” than for builders in the $200,000 to $500,000 home value range, Martineau said.
Although construction levels aren’t at levels he hopes will materialize, there have been no employee layoffs as “employees have kept busy” during the economic downturn of the past five or so years, he said.
Two years ago, Martineau started an offshoot siding business that subcontracts with other builders and said it is “growing tremendously,” the company CEO said.
Martineau was among 90 building contractors and others who attended the Northern Wasatch Home Builders’ Association State of the Wasatch luncheon and growth report Jan. 24. It was held at the Davis Conference Center.
“Both the housing and job market are pretty strong, quite healthy,” Eric Allen, who spoke to the home builders’ association, told The Clipper. He is Utah director of Metrostudy, which is a national research firm that analyzes housing data and creates proprietary forecasts from Virginia to Utah for a variety of clients. “I think our housing market is in a good position,” he said. The inventory of empty homes is low while prices are stabilizing.
“Davis County probably has a little bit higher home inventory, but it’s still healthy. There’s nothing that causes any concern,” Allen said.
“We’re seeing some things indicating a slight improvement,” said Paul Wood, chief deputy to Davis County Assessor Dennis Yarrington. “I feel like we could start pulling more inventory out there.”
That is, there appears to be more room for new housing construction, he said.
“We have a big inventory of developed lots that banks ended up foreclosing on because the developers or bankers couldn’t sell,” said Dave Jones. The Syracuse resident is also with the assessor’s office and has his feet on the ground largely in the northwest part of the county.
“We’ve had quite a turnover at very distressed prices” of many land parcels, he said.
But that available inventory of vacant lots is shrinking, Jones said, adding, “There is a significant increase in home starts that is eating into that inventory” of vacant lots, he said.
That follows an extended period with what Jones called “a huge inventory” of vacant lots and no buyers.
“Affordability is as good as it’s been in a long time,” he said. Many homes are available at costs that are within the range of median income ratios considered by lenders.