News-Leader Editorial: ‘Home building news cause for joy’

Following Tuesday’s page 1A news story on signs of life in the building industry, the Springfield News-Leader editorialized Wednesday on what great news that would be for the community and local economy. The editorial follows below, or can be read directly on the News-Leader site by clicking here.

Our Voice
November 4, 2009
Experts say the growth rate can be foundation for future prosperity.
For now, it’s just a ray of optimism for home builders.
But it’s a bright ray.
Battered by sour economic news month after recent month, a headline Monday could be a harbinger of better days on the horizon.
“Increase in spending on home building spurs hope” were the words atop a 1A News-Leader story Tuesday.
It told how the U.S. Commerce Department is reporting that September showed the biggest increase in private residential building in six years.
Of course, no one’s anywhere close to declaring an end to lean times. But the latest numbers have spurred a positive buzz that the housing market is rebounding.
It’s sunny in the Ozarks this week, with temperatures approaching balminess. It’s a good time for a reprieve from the bleak and the dire.
Take a minute or two to bask in these latest numbers and allow yourself a rosy glance forward.
Economic experts say a return to health for the housing industry will support economic recovery overall.
Cautions about overreacting abound, but one thing is clear: this growth — a 3.9 percent rise in residential construction — was not expected. Analysts had been predicting an overall decline in total construction spending, which includes public building projects.
Locally, experts say an upturn could soon create demand for more new homes, because the current inventory has shrunken. These might be smaller homes, perhaps built with evolving, green technology, but at least a demand is predicted.
Builders in Greene and four other nearby southwest Missouri counties also received other soothing news recently.
A market research company — reporting an analysis of census information, building permits, lot supply vs. demand, the historical rate of demands for new homes and other data — concluded the Southwest Missouri housing market “is moving in a healthy direction.”
Among the key factors noted: a projected 7 percent population growth over the next five years; a “relatively healthy employment picture”; and an economic resilience not enjoyed in other parts of the nation.
Builders had essentially stopped constructing homes due to the downturn. Deciding which kind to build as the market surges back is undoubtedly the kind of problem they’d be glad to tackle.
Hopefully, September wasn’t an anomaly.
There’s nothing like the sounds of industry — hammers, nail guns, concrete trucks — to complement another beautiful, fall day in the Ozarks.
This editorial is the view of the News-Leader Editorial Board.