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Daniel’s Land Project

Changes in county land use rules that could bring another 2,000 homes to sites near Daniels Parkway will go before county commissioners in the coming weeks.

Neighbors of one are battling against the change, while the other faces little opposition.

A county panel that makes recommendations to county commissioners on changes in the Lee Plan, the county’s basic land planning document, has endorsed the development of 1,315 new homes on a site at Daniels and State Road 82 that’s currently a part of the protected Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource area.

The Local Planning Agency gave a negative recommendation to a county proposal that would rezone an area at Palomino and Apaloosa lanes off Daniels to allow an additional 693 housing units.


Read More:
New Daniel’s Complex

 

 

Housing Starts Up In Fort Myers/Naples Area

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Builders started construction on 818 houses in the Naples/Fort Myers housing market in the first quarter of 2014, up 21 percent from a year earlier, according to a report by Metrostudy, a national provider of housing data.

“Finished, vacant home supply continues to be virtually non-existent,” said David Cobb, Metrostudy’s Regional Director in the Naples Market. “Lee County has only a 0.7 month’s supply, while Collier remains below equilibrium as well at 1.7 months of supply. As in the previous quarter, this is a reflection that almost every home under construction has been sold.”

In Lee County, there were 381 lot deliveries in the first quarter, up 29 percent from a year earlier.

The county has 6,902 vacant developed lots, down 5 percent from a year earlier, according to the report.

In addition to the developed lots, there are plans for 48,012 future lots. Many of these lots lie in the northern and eastern sections of the county, where development has been slow to recover.

Collier County housing starts rose 36 percent in the first quarter to 1,624. The annual starts rate has risen for 19 consecutive quarters, from a low of 399 in early 2009, the report states.

“Builders report that the labor market remains tight, which in some cases is limiting the supply of new homes,” said Cobb. “The supply of vacant, developed lots declined 9 percent year over year to 4,496.”

Builders Ready to Ramp Up Production in 2014

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Builders are expected to increase new-home production in 2014, but the sector continues to grapple with several challenges that could hinder its progress, economists said at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show this week in Las Vegas.

“Consumers are back, pent-up demand is emerging, there is a growing need for new construction, distressed sales are diminishing, and builders see it,” says David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist.

However, builders continue to face rising costs for building materials, tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining appraisals that reflect builders’ prices, and limited availability in labor and developed lots, Crowe says.

Borrowing costs will likely inch higher this year since mortgage rates are expected to climb when the Fed begins to taper its $85 billion per month bond-buying stimulus program. Still, “regarding mortgage rates, we’ve gone from dirt cheap to cheap, and I think we will see a gradual rise of about a half a percentage point to 5 percent in 2014,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Even then, he adds, “most markets will remain quite affordable.”

New-home sales are averaging 8.7 percent of total home sales – just barely half the historical average of 16.1 percent, according to NAHB. Crowe projects 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up nearly 25 percent from the 2013 total of 928,000 units. Single-family production is expected to increase 32 percent in 2014 to 822,000 units, and then rise an additional 41 percent to 1.16 million units in 2015.

Consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels and household budgets are mending. Household formations are on the rise and are averaging 620,000 compared to 500,000 during the housing downturn.  For comparison, during the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households each year.

Multifamily starts are projected to be at 333,000 in 2014, up 9 percent from 2013, Crowe says.

Home sales will benefit from pent-up demand in household formation, which was restrained during the Great Recession, says David Berson, senior vice president and chief economist at Nationwide Insurance.

“At least 3 million fewer households formed over the past five years than would normally have been expected,” he said. Many college graduates, for example, moved back in with their parents, which limited new household formation.