Area home construction remains strong

Homebuilding in the Kansas City area surged again in April, the busiest month in the past five years.

Data released by the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City showed 444 permits issued last month for single-family units. That marked the first time monthly permits had climbed above 400 since April 2008, when 441 permits were issued.

Through the first four months of this year, the association said 1,276 single-family permits had been issued in the eight-county area, up from 917 in 2012. This was also the best four-month stretch since 2008, when the recession started to take its toll.

“Builders say the local new home market is hot, and they recognize that the supply of unsold homes is probably too small for the demand experienced this spring,” said Sara Corless, the association’s executive vice president.

Johnson County experienced a 57 percent increase in home construction in April from the previous year, and Wyandotte County was up 192 percent, the association said. On the Missouri side, homebuilding in Jackson County rose 26 percent from April 2012, with Cass County reporting a 23 percent increase.

Construction of apartments and other multifamily units, which had been a relatively slow part of the housing market until recently, also climbed in the January-April period, with 1,281 permits issued.

Nationally, builders broke ground on far fewer homes in April, one month after topping the 1 million mark for the first time since 2008, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. But applications for new construction reached a five-year peak, evidence that the housing revival will continue.

The Commerce Department said builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000, a 16.5 percent drop from the March pace of 1.02 million. But applications for building permits rose 14.3 percent to a rate of 1.02 million, the most since June 2008.

Builders are benefiting from a sustained rebound in housing that began a year ago. Steady job growth, rock-bottom mortgage rates and rising home values have boosted demand.