Residential building spurs growth in Miami Valley

Residential building in the Miami Valley has entered a resurgence as the economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, and remodeling contractors are also reaping the benefits of the exploding industry.

Home builders in four area counties built 1,886 new homes last year, a 12 percent increase compared to 2015, according to the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

The home construction industry will be showcased this weekend at the Miami Valley Homeworld. The annual event, hosted at the Dayton Airport Expo Center in Vandalia, started Thursday and goes through Sunday evening. Contractors, craftsmen, fencing companies, flooring services, heating and cooling services and other companies will display the best amenities to include in a new or renovated house.

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The event comes after a year where home builders saw more growth than any other year in the past decade. The total number of building permits, which includes commercial and residential construction, granted in 2016 was 2,680, a 33.5 percent increase from 2,008 in 2015 and 2,184 in 2014.

Combined ShapeCaption
Residential building development in the region has continued to increase, according to data from the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

Residential building development in the region has continued to increase, according to data from the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

Combined ShapeCaption
Residential building development in the region has continued to increase, according to data from the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

“It was a super successful year for us,” said Kathleen Unger, executive director of the association, in an interview earlier this month.

Residential and commercial building matters to the growth of the local economy because the construction industry contributed more than $22 billion to the state GDP in 2015. Last July, approximately 205,500 people were employed by the construction industry in Ohio.

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Annual pay for construction workers in Ohio was an average of $55,900 in 2015, about 20 percent more than all private sector employees in the state, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Homebuilders have seen 2016 as the comeback year, after the industry tanked with the Great Recession.

It’s taken years for builders to gain back ground after years of a near halt in new building projects. The amount of permits for single-family homes in 2016 exceeded 2014 when 1,504 permits were filed. They also passed 2013, when 1,520 permits were filed and 2012, when 1, 444 were filed.

While builder confidence remains high, single-family home building nationwide is expected to level out in the next year, according to the National Associatyion of Home Builders.

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“While builders remain optimistic, we are seeing the numbers settling back into a normal range,” said Granger MacDonald, a home builder and NAHB chairman. “Regulatory burdens remain a major challenge to our industry, and NAHB looks forward to working with the new Congress and administration to help alleviate some of the pressures that are holding small businesses back and making homes less affordable.”

Remodel contractors are also gaining new clients as the economy rebounds.

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Bill Bilbrey, the owner of W.E. Bilbrey General Contractor, said his business has picked up a considerable amount of additional clients or the past three years since the housing market collapsed back in 2007. And, 2017 is off to an even stronger start. The company — which completes kitchen, bathrooms, basement and attics remodels, among other projects — is booked through June with clients.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down at this point,” he said. “It’s going to be a great year, and the next couple years look like they will be halfway decent too.”

Bilbrey said several customers, older than 50 years old, have saved and are ready to remodel. The company has also seen an increase in requests for accessibility and “aging in place” work on homes. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, Bilbrey said he expects the company to field more requests for amenities like shower bars and ramps for the next 10 or 15 years.

Tickets for the Miami Valley HomeWorld are $7 for a single-day pass or $10 for a multi-day pass. The event closes at 5 p.m. on Sunday.


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