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Home construction lags in Wisconsin's largest metro areas
Journal Sentinel

11/07/2014, Construction of new homes fell short of last year's pace during the first half of 2014 in most of Wisconsin's biggest metro areas.

Altogether, 1,837 permits to build new homes were issued from January through June in metropolitan Milwaukee, Dane County, the Green Bay-Door County area, Fox Valley and the Racine-Kenosha market, according to MTD Marketing Services of Wisconsin Inc. That was 1.1% fewer than in the first six months of 2013, when there were 1,857.

The Fox Valley had the largest percentage decrease at 14%, as permits for single-family homes and duplexes dropped to 294 from 342 in the first half of the year.

Other declines were much smaller. Permits in metropolitan Milwaukee dipped to 588 from 591, a decrease of 0.5%. In the Racine-Kenosha area, permits decreased to 140 from 144.

However, home-building permits increased 7.5% in the Green Bay-Door County area, to 300 from 279. That market was helped by 77 permits in June alone, up from 55 in the same month last year. In Dane County, permits rose 2.8%, to 515 from 501, in the first half of 2014.

Dominic Collar, of Oshkosh-based MTD, said most new homes are being constructed under contracts with buyers, but some builders are putting up spec homes and seem to find success when they do.

"If you talk to most of them, they are sold before the project is completed," Collar said.

New home construction remains far behind levels from the market boom of the early and mid-2000s, but has been slowly recovering for the last five years.