October 16, 2012, the National Association of Homebuilders reported that confidence among home builders was up and at its highest level since summer 2006. The following day, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that housing starts had risen 15% on a national level and were at their highest rate since summer of 2008, and residential building permits increased 11.6% compared to the previous month. All of this came as very good news to numerous home builders across the country, including Miller and Smith, who have been watching with optimism as housing markets seem to be displaying favorable trends and are moving in a positive direction.
Miller and Smith is the third largest private home builder in the Washington, D.C. area, and was one of the few home builders to have survived the economic downturn. In Virginia, Miller and Smith is not only the developer of the new mixed-use home community of One Loudoun, but is also building the Downtown Collection of single-family homes in the “new urbanism”-focused community.
During an interview with Kathy Orton, Web reporter for the Washington Post, president and CEO of Miller and Smith, Doug Smith, spoke about how national trends compare to what he is seeing in his own region.
Smith said that he believed the Washington, D.C. area was at the forefront of the housing recovery. Being one of the first markets to come out of the housing market downturn, Smith noted that the change in momentum came when both buyer and builder confidence increased.
“I think Washington, [D.C.] was on the front edge of that change in [builder] confidence,” said Smith. “And I think [buyers] got off the sidelines in 2012 and started buying houses again.”
With unemployment down in metro D.C., steady job growth, and fixed-rate mortgages near record lows, it is no wonder why more prospective home buyers would be wanting to purchase right now in a market that is showing promise of having a full recovery. And, this new-found consumer confidence is contributing to a higher builder confidence which in turn has led to the highest level of new home starts seen in four years as well as a rise in home sales.
“Our sales are up 33 percent over the last year,” remarked Smith, “We’re happy. We’re selling a house a day right now.”- he said.
A rise in new home sales has brought about a sense of urgency among potential buyers in the Loudoun County area that have been searching for new homes for sale in the Ashburn-Leesburg part of Northern Virginia. New home buyers realize that the demand for new single-family homes is growing, and where there is a higher demand, so comes rising prices. Many are taking advantage of the low mortgage rate environment that is currently present in the national housing market and are choosing to purchase in a new home communy, such as One Loudoun, while the low rates last.
To read the full interview with Miller and Smith’s Doug Smith, visit WashingtonPost.com