By James T. Hammond
Published July 9, 2012
Permits to build new homes in the Midlands continued at a strong pace in June, according to preliminary statistics compiled by the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia.
Earle McLeod, executive director of the association, said the statistics are not complete. But based upon preliminary numbers, the pace of new permits issued in June almost reached May levels, which were the highest yet in 2012.
So far, 270 permits have been counted for June, compared with 275 permits in May.
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So far this year, 1,513 permits have been issued in the region comprising Kershaw, Lexington and Richland counties and the towns in those counties.
Richland County, not including its towns, issued 101 permits in June, down from 125 permits in May. Lexington County issued 73 permits, down from 103 in May.
Among the cities and towns, Columbia had the highest number of permits issued in June at 58, compared with just 13 in May, and 43 in June 2011.
Among area builders, Mungo Homes remained on top for the first half of the year, with 271 permits issued. That is almost twice as many permits as the 139 permits Mungo received in all of 2011. But Mungo's monthly paced dropped to 44 permits in June, compared to 73 in May.
The highest total for the month of June was CF Evans & Co. Construction, with 46 permits. It was that company's first permits issued in the region this year.
“I think this will be sustainable through the end of the year,” McLeod said. “But that bump is over a previous year that was one of the worst ever. We like the direction of the trend, but I’m not sure it’s cause for elation.”
Joey Von Nessen, a research economist with the USC Darla Moore School of Business, said that over the last six to nine months, there has been a steady increase in housing starts across South Carolina.
“It’s been very mild, but it’s driven by market forces, unlike 2009-2010 when we had tax credits driving increased sales,” Von Nessen said.
“If we look at house price appreciation across the state, there’s been a slight increase in price appreciation. Prices are bottoming out, or in some places, have bottomed out. I believe they’ll all bottom out statewide in the next six to nine months,” Von Nessen said.
For additional coverage of the home construction industry in the Midlands, see the July 9 print edition of the Columbia Regional Business Report. Subscribe here.