One sign of the improving economy is the fact that people are back at work improving their homes and their properties. In the past few years, renovation and improvement projects fell by the wayside as paychecks went to cover the necessities of life: utility bills, mortgage payments, etc. These days, however, the American people are feeling more optimistic. Mike Chamlee, a buildings official in Arkansas, said, “We have seen a modest uptick in [construction] permits this year across the spectrum and feel cautiously optimistic that it will continue to grow as recovery happens and confidence returns.”
Construction permit filings increase
In Springdale, Ark. alone, there were 20 permits filed for renovations or home additions in June of this year compared with just 13 permits last year. A smaller increase was found in people who remodeled, constructed additions, or built garages between 2012 and 2013, with an increase from 7 permits to 10. Dan Pauley, a building inspector, said additions aren’t as popular and that instead, he’s seen “homeowners taking previously unused space and finding use for it. For example, converting an empty attic space to a living area.” He also said people have been building more back porches and decks, which trend seems to indicate people have more time to spend in the leisure activities that take place in these locales.
People more serious about remodeling
Another company, Abshier Construction, owned by Steve Abshier, reported it has had about equal numbers of renovations and additions. The number of people making inquiries has doubled, though, showing people’s increasing interest in improving their homes. “There’s definitely been less tire kicking this year and people are more serious about it,” he said. Most of his new work is for renovating kitchens and adding porches. “Most people just want their home more comfortable for themselves,” he said, rather than because they want to sell their homes.
New construction increases
Yet another firm, Jack Hales Construction Company, is reporting an increased interest in new construction as well. Such interest indicates people are loosening their purse strings and are more open to selling rather than subsisting. Jack Hales said this is good and bad for business: During the economic downturn, many companies were forced to turn away employees in order to stay open and now with all the business, “We’re teetering on a shortage of labor here.” Another effect of increased interest is, “All materials are going up . . . If someone is planning on doing a remodel, the sooner the better.”
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