Home building prospects up, economist says

The latest data shows housing construction headed for a post-recession high this year – a spurt that should continue for at least a few years, according to the senior economist at a national real estate firm.

Job growth and the increasing trend of millennials to start households will drive demand for apartments, while a rising birth rate and gradual shift from renting to owning will help spur drive demand for homes, said Selma Hepp of California-based Trulia.

“High confidence among builders bode well for construction going forward,” she said. “”We may be on the path to the best year in housing recovery.”

Metro Atlanta should be part of that wave, Hepp said. “The numbers for starts in the South showed the strongest growth. Both single-family and multi-family numbers for South are stronger than other regions.”

Bolstering her conclusion was a Census Bureau report released this morning showed a surge of construction in the spring.

In June, starts jumped by 9.8 percent from May. Starts were 26.6 percent higher than in June 2014.

Housing permits were also up strongly – 30 percent over the year.

“While permits growth leveled off some in 2014, last month’s reading is encouraging,” Happ said. “Even with a weak beginning to 2015, both readings are solidly ahead of 2014 through June.”