News Column

Florida Home Builders Enjoying a Resurgence

May 22, 2012

Paul Owers

New homes

GL Homes reported a strong weekend of sales at The Bridges near Delray Beach, Fla., another indication that builders are gradually recovering from the housing meltdown.

"Interest is definitely coming back," said Marcie DePlaza, a division president for GL. "We feel really good about where the market is right now."

Other builders also are enjoying a resurgence.

The 198-unit Centra townhome development in Boca Raton is nearing completion, says Harry Posin, a builder working on the project with Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Corp. as a joint venture.

In Broward County, the Monterra development in Cooper City had 400 housing starts last year, representing most of the county's new residential construction, according to the Metrostudy research and consulting firm.

Originally scheduled to be complete by 2015, Monterra is on pace to be finished next year, says Jim Carr, principal of the builder, CC Devco. Monterra features 850 single-family homes from $325,000 to $700,000.

Last week, Standard Pacific Homes of California broke ground on 450 homes in Parkland. Watercrest at Parkland will feature one- and two-story single-family homes priced from the mid $300,000s to $700,000.

The home construction is expected to start later this year. Some officials estimate that Parkland's population will increase by 15,000 once the development is completed.

Sunrise-based GL wrote 18 contracts after unveiling nine model homes at The Bridges along Lyons Road between Clint Moore Road and Atlantic Avenue. The builder says more than 5,000 people visited Saturday and Sunday.

GL now has contracts for 121 homes worth almost $100 million since the 600-home development opened in February. The first buyers will move in by late summer.

The homes range from 2,400 to 7,500 square feet, with prices from $500,000 to $1.5 million. GL is targeting families, empty nesters, move-up and international buyers.

Amenities include impact glass, a poolside bistro, indoor sports complex and a children's and teen activity center.

The housing bust starting in 2006 sent builders into bankruptcy or out of business altogether, but 36-year-old GL weathered the downturn as well as most companies.

A recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo showed builder confidence was at its highest level since May 2007. The builder trade group said "stabilizing prices and excellent affordability encourage more people to pursue a new-home purchase."

Builders are benefting as buyers realize that prices are at or near the bottom, said Brad Hunter, South Florida director of Metrostudy.

"Pretty much every market is seeing improvement right now," he said. "The ones that got beaten up the most are coming back the strongest."



Source: (c) 2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)


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