8:43am

Thu March 7, 2013
Business

Tenn. Housing Starts Up in January

Credit capone.mtsu.edu/berc/index.html

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Permits issued in Tennessee for single family housing construction surged to nearly 1500 units in January, but a mid-state economist says builders shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet.

According to Middle Tennessee State’s Business and Economic Research Center, 1491 single-family housing permits were issued statewide in January. That’s the highest number since September of 2008, but still well below the nearly 1800 permits issued in April of 2008.

MTSU economist Murat Arik says the uptick likely does not mean a strengthening economy, but probably does signals that the glut of existing homes that piled up during the downturn are finally being cleared away.

He also says the surge in housing starts is also mostly confined to Tennessee’s largest metro areas.

“Like Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis we see significant growth. But in the smaller ones like Morristown, Kingsport, Bristol this growth is really not that robust.”  

Arik says most other economic indicators suggest continued slow growth ahead for Tennessee.