A swing in momentum, one home at a time

A house under construction in Stable Hill neighborhood is one of many subdivisions with new houses in the works. (Photo by Brandy Brubraker.)

A house under construction in Stable Hill neighborhood is one of many subdivisions with new houses in the works. (Photo by Brandy Brubraker.)

The good old days may have not yet returned, but local homebuilders saw an upswing last year.

The area’s top 10 local builders constructed 32 percent more houses in 2013 over 2012, according to a list compiled earlier this month by Richmond BizSense.

The list ranked 47 of the area’s builders based on their activity last year. Combined, they built a total of 2,065 homes in 2013, up from 1,531 the previous year.

The top 10 local homebuilders on the list accounted for about 85 percent of the construction activity among the group. Those 10 constructed 1,741 houses in 2013, compared to 1,320 in 2012, according to the list.

The top 10 also sold 24 percent more houses in the same timeframe – 1,650 in 2013 and 1,331 in 2012.

Ryan Homes dominated the list, building and selling 604 houses in 2013. That was up from 515 in 2012.

Ryan Homes nearest local competitors, Eagle Construction of VA and Main Street Homes, built 303 and 216 houses in 2013 respectively. That marked a 57 percent increase for Eagle and a 21 percent increase for Main Street compared to 2012.

On the sales side, Eagle sold 193 homes in 2013, up from 143 the previous year. Main Street sold 178 last year, up from 176.

The builders rounding out the remaining top 10 included HHHunt Homes, StyleCraft Homes, Craftmaster Homes, Boone Homes, Liberty Homes, R-CI Builders and Finer Homes.

Main Street Homes owner Vernon McClure said he thinks the housing market will continue to improve this year.

“As jobs come back and the economy begins to improve people will want to get into a house,” he said.

Main Street hopes to build 235 houses this year to continue its growth. McClure said, with interest rates still low, he thinks they’ll hit their goal.

A study recently released by the Home Building Association of Richmond found similar momentum in the market in 2013.

HBAR’s figures, which were produced along with local marketing firm Commonwealth Partnerships, show that new home sales increased by 30 percent in the Greater Richmond area last year compared to 2012.

Craig Toalson, HBAR president, said the numbers are promising.

“We’re a long way from being back to where we need to be but we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.

A total of 2,763 new single-family houses, condos and townhouses were sold in the region in 2013, the HBAR study showed. That was an increase from 2,128 sales in 2012.

HBAR’s study also found that the number of building permits issued for single-family home construction was up 29 percent in 2013 over the previous year. That’s thanks to 3,274 new residential permits issued during the year, a jump from 2,543 in 2012.

The numbers aren’t nearly as high as the area’s peak. There were 5,756 homes sold in 2006 and permits peaked in 2005 with 6,332 issued. But Toalson said they’re still encouraging.

“It’s the highest number we’ve had since 2008,” he said. That year, about 3,100 new homes were sold in the area, the study said.

The HBAR data was gathered by research firm Integra Realty Resources-Richmond. For the purposes of the study, the localities measured included Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, Powhatan, and Caroline counties and the City of Richmond.

A few other statistics from the HBAR study:

• The average price of a new home sold in the surveyed areas in 2013 was $341,407. In 2012, the average was $314,555.

• About 27 percent of all new homes sold in 2013 were condos or townhouses.

• New homes made up 17 percent of all homes sold in 2013.

• Nearly half of all new home sales in 2013 in the areas surveyed were in Chesterfield County (1,060 of 2,763).

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