custom than speculative houses, said Anita Napier, CEO of the Builders
Association of South Central Kentucky.
However, the number of building permits issued is going up.
In Warren County, the number of building permits dropped from 905 in 2006, with 462 of those being for single-family residences, to a low of 443 in 2009, with 196 of those being for single-family residences. In 2012 to date, 552 permits have been issued -- 255 of those being for single-family residences.
In Bowling Green, 336 building permits were issued in 2007 for construction worth about $74.9 million. They hit a high in 573 permits worth about $128.4 million in 2008 and dropped to 262 permits worth about $98.6 million in 2011. This year, 446 permits have been issued worth about $145 million.
Napier also believes people will always want to own a home, which is good for builders. "We believe that home ownership will always be the American dream," she said.
A Pew report from April 2011 showed that 81 percent of adults polled agreed that buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make. In the same report, 81 percent of renters said they would one day like to buy a home.
Napier said that, while the worst effects of the recession on members of the builders association came in the latter part of 2008, it hit much of the nation earlier that year.
"People just kind of migrated down I-65 and actually sought out homes here, and there were still jobs here," she said.
There is a low cost of living in the area and good business practices tend to be taught, so many builders were able to hold on for longer than those in other parts of the country, Napier said.
Builders in southcentral Kentucky were also able to see signs of market declines in other parts of the country and started to scale back when the recession hit, she said.
Warren County has always been an area where fluctuations in the real estate market tend to be milder than in many other places, Davis said.
He said he's starting to see home values and sales go up. The real estate market in Bowling Green started to experience the effects of the recession in 2007, with a steeper decline in sales and prices in 2008. So far, 2012 looks as though it is going to double 2011 in terms of real estate activity, he said.
In Warren, Butler, Allen, Logan, Simpson and Edmonson counties from January through October, homes sold with a median price of about $125,900, Davis said. In 2008 during the same period in the same area, homes sold with a median price of about $119,900, he said.
Housing prices are recovering in the Bowling Green area, Carey said. They increased by 1.67 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to an average of 0.89 percent nationally, and 1.34 percent in the second quarter, compared to a national average of 1.8 percent.
Many people, however, are choosing to rent, Davis said.
Uncertainty about the real estate market, coupled with the inability of some to qualify for home loans, have played into the robust demand for rental housing, he said. Another factor is that some who have moved to the area have been unable to sell homes in other parts of the country and are waiting to do so before buying again.
In Bowling Green city government, there are also signs of recovery. This
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