Homebuilder Permits: Up Locally, Down Nationally

In today’s edition of The Daily News, I reported that Shelby County homebuilders filed 61 permits in July, an 11.7 percent increase from 55 filed the same month a year ago.

But good news locally was not reflected nationally. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that housing starts dropped 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 604,000 homes in July.

Economists say that is only half the 1.2 million new homes per year needed for the country to sustain a healthy housing market.

“Builders continue to confront the same major challenges they have seen over the past year, including competition from the large inventory of distressed homes on the market, inaccurate appraisal values, and issues with their buyers not being able to sell an existing home or qualify for favorable mortgage rates because of overly tight underwriting requirements,” National Association of Home Builders chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement.