LIBERTY TWP., Ohio - As John Ballantyne picked up a shovel to help break ground for Homearama 2013 at Carriage Hill in Liberty Township Thursday, he couldn't help but smile.
Ballantyne is the owner of the Leland Group, a Warren County home building firm that's been impacted by the recession.
However, he said the industry appears to be coming back.
"It's definitely not what it was three years ago, but we're definitely not on the bottom any longer," he said. "Activity is starting to brew."
Homearama 2012 is slated for next June and as of right now will feature homes from eight builders in the $700,000 to $1.2 million price range.
It's the 52st Homearama of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati and is being built on Terry family acreage along Princeton-Glendale and Milliken Roads.
Experts say the show is an indication that both home building and real estate have turned the corner.
Real estate is returning to a seller's market. The number of move-up buyers is increasing. That's resulting in more new home construction.
When the housing bubble burst, there was a glut of available lots and homes that forced many builders out of business.
Now, Ballantyne said inventories for both are falling and building has become more viable again. That's made available lots scarce.
"In the industry right now, land is simply not available to build on," he said. "There's very few lots left and this site -- there's 400 acres of new lots on board. It's a great place to kick off 2013 Homearama."
Dan Dressman, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, said every new home built adds three jobs to the economy.
"When someone buys a new home, they buy appliances, home furnishings, landscaping and patronize local businesses like restaurants and retail outlets," he said. "More rooftops lead to more businesses and overall expansion of the tax base for public services such as police, fire and school funding. It's a good thing."
Star One Realtors President Mark Meinhardt confirmed the real estate market recovery and return to a balanced market, which is defined as a six-month supply of available homes.
"For the first time in several years, sellers are actually able to sell a home and the prices have been rebounding," he said. "There's a pent-up demand and so what's happening is that is feeding the upper markets."
Meinhardt added, "You can sell a house, get some more equity out of it than you could previously, and move up or build."
Larry Thinnes, Office Manager of the Coldwell Banker West Shell office in West Chester, said his company's sales are up 23-38 percent over a year ago.
"If people have a nice house, if it's in good condition and it's priced right, they're probably going to see multiple offers on it," said. "We're seeing a lot of activity. Our open houses on Sunday are very positive.
Thinnes urged people who want to buy to make an offer or they might find themselves in a multiple offer situation very quickly.
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