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KC area homebuilding activity holding steady

Bloomberg

Homebuilding activity in the Kansas City area picked up slightly in September compared with the previous month as low mortgage interest rates continued to attract buyers, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

Builders took out 377 permits for single-family homes last month, up 30 from August but down seven from September 2013, the association said in its latest monthly report. Building permits are closely watched as an indicator of future new-home construction.

Through the first nine months of this year, construction activity is at its highest level in seven years. There were 3,126 single-family home permits issued through September, compared with 3,093 in 2013, the association said.

The five cities with the most building activity through the first nine months were Kansas City, Olathe, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit and Lenexa.

Despite the growth in permits and mortgage rates that have dipped below 4 percent, new home sales “may have difficulty maintaining their upward track,” said Sara Corless, the association’s executive vice president. She said many first-time homebuyers are facing “tight credit and strict mortgage lending obstacles.”

However, Corless said several steps taken by federal housing regulators last week to loosen lending conditions — particularly for lower-income, first-time buyers — might pay dividends starting in 2015.

The association also reported that multi-family construction activity in the area continued to grow in September, with permits issued for 897 units. Through September, 3,168 permits have been issued for apartments and other multi-family units compared with 2,098 in the first nine months of 2013.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.

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