Despite a shortage of lots, South Florida ranks among the top 10 markets nationwide for home construction, according to a recent report.
Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties placed ninth on a list compiled by the Metrostudy research firm. It surveyed more than 900 communities across the country, factoring in housing data with job and population growth.
“What we’re seeing is there’s lots of demand, and supply is tight,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy. “What tight supply does is support prices. People in the homebuilding business have pricing power, and that’s why South Florida was high on our list.”
The Villages, a master-planned community near Ocala, ranked first. Three other Florida metro areas also made the cut: Orlando (No. 2), Fort Myers (three) and Naples (six).
During the housing boom of 2000 to 2005, South Florida builders regularly started 1,000 or more homes a quarter. Home construction hit bottom in 2009, when quarterly housing starts numbered in the dozens.
The market’s resurgence is kick-starting more construction, but builders are running out of room.
In Palm Beach County, they’re moving to the western suburbs to find land. More than 1,500 homes are going up in Parkland in northwest Broward, but parcels are scarce across the rest of county as builders look to tear down aging developments to make way for new homes.
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“The open green fields just aren’t there anymore,” said Doug Eagon, president of Stiles, a development firm planning 36 homes on the former American Golf Course in the Coral Ridge section of Fort Lauderdale.
Aside from the Florida markets, the other metro areas on Metrostudy’s list were Raleigh, N.C. (No. 4), Denver (five), San Francisco (seven), Phoenix (eight) and Provo, Utah (10).