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Wendy Reuer, Published October 30 2012

F-M new construction breaks record

FARGO – New construction in the metropolitan area is the highest it has ever been, totaling nearly $434 million during the first three quarters of 2012, Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead figures show.

The HBA released its third-quarter building permit report on Tuesday showing construction of single-family homes in Fargo and West Fargo is booming.

In Moorhead, construction of multifamily homes such as apartment and townhome complexes is increasing.

The value of construction permits in the metro area is reported at $434 million, which tops the third-quarter record of $428 million set in 2006.

The number of permits issued in West Fargo is nearly double last year’s figure with 322 construction starts. Of the 322 permits, 264 were for single-family homes.

Fargo home building is up 59 percent with 325 starts, of which 242 are permits for single-family homes.

Numbers are also on pace to set records on the Minnesota side of the Red River, said HBA President Terry Becker.

Moorhead reported 73 housing starts through the third quarter, the same number as in 2011.

Single family permits in Moorhead are up 22 percent.

City Administrator Michael Redlinger said an unprecedented number of multifamily permits have been approved, but are not yet reflected in the HBA report released Tuesday.

He said about $6 million worth of multifamily projects have been approved to proceed this year.

“In total, we’re expecting 218 new multifamily units this year,” Redlinger said. “It’s unprecedented for us in the last decade to see that much multifamily (construction).”

Redlinger said consumers made it clear they wanted new apartment choices with better parking, garages and amenities.

“The multifamily market is healthy and very strong, especially following real strong single-family growth,” he said.

In its report, HBA noted another trend this year is a high number of home remodeling projects.

Across the metro area, 1,642 residential remodeling permits and 409 commercial remodeling permits were issued.

“Remodeling is just huge right now,” Becker said.

Becker said he is optimistic the increase in construction will continue.

“There’s still a buyers’ market (here). Interest rates are low. Buying a home is a great investment. Local banks have money to lend,” he said.

Becker said not having a flood in the Red River Valley in 2012 – after three consecutive flooded springs – helped build confidence in the home buyers’ market and allowed construction to speed up through the season.

“(The numbers) are a sign of our robust economy and what can be done without a flood,” he said.

Becker said permanent flood protection for the metro area is essential to maintain a healthy construction industry.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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