Housing Market Making A Comeback In West Michigan

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-06 18:53:26-05

WEST MICHIGAN — Local builders say they’re seeing massive growth in the West Michigan housing market — and city numbers are supporting the claims.

In 2009, Grand Rapids issued 157 new single-home building permits. Two years later, that number was cut by more than half – with just 77 permits given out.

But 2012 saw growth of more than 35 percent, with 104 new permits issued. They’ve already given 21 in the first two months of 2013.

Permit growth is up more than 230 percent in Holland over the last 24 months and have nearly doubled over the past five years in Kalamazoo.

Builders like Nathan Abbott of Falcon Custom Homes are reaping the benefits.

“We have two homes under construction,” Abbott says. “We have another one we’re starting next week, so that’s very, very encouraging.”

Abbott remembers the market’s descent.

“It was almost a stop,” he recalls.

During the recession, Abbott and other builders had to deal with tighter budgets while still trying to build the houses their clients wanted.

“We were still able to do a lot of the creative interior elements and exterior elements,” he says, “but the square footage was maybe held in check.”

Now as the market recovers, with a hint of prices swinging slightly upwards again, more clients are jumping at the opportunity.

“That’s what we’re seeing – clients coming to us and saying, ‘Hey, this is my dream home and this is how I wanna do it,'” Abbott says.

Grand Rapids is on pace to issue more than 130 new single home permits in 2013.