Uptick in new home construction makes Northern Kentucky's economy feel right at home

Commercial projects seen as key driver for segment
Uptick in new home construction makes Northern Kentucky's economy feel right at home
Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 14, 2016

Northern Kentucky homebuilders said sales are growing as the economy improves, which could make Boone, Kenton or Campbell counties a competitive spot to find a new home close to downtown Cincinnati.

This is due to a plan to expand sewer lines in Boone County, continued low interest rates for mortgages and more home construction in Campbell County.

But it’s not just that driving the expected growth -- it will also be because of the many commercial projects coming up in the next year or two that will spur residential construction, said Brian Miller, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky.

Those projects should bring thousands of workers to Northern Kentucky over the next few years, and Miller said they’re going to want homes.

Drees Homes of Fort Mitchell is one of the builders pleased with their numbers, which show a 10 percent increase in sales compared to this time last year.

Michael Conklin, president of Drees Homes Northern Kentucky Division, said he believes “the worst is behind us for now.”

Bob Schroder, vice president of Arlinghaus Builders of Union, said his company is experiencing 15 to 20 percent higher sales for the year.

Boone County, homebuilders and Sanitation District No. 1, Northern Kentucky's waste and stormwater utility, have agreed on a plan that will extend sewer lines in Hebron, where building has been on hold for years.

“We’re coming closer to overcoming sewer issues," Miller said.

Changes will include diverting and upsizing a line as well as the expansion of a pump, which will open up subdivisions.

As soon as that’s official, Toebben Communities of Crescent Springs will start work on a 1,000-home subdivision called River Point Estates, according to John Toebbin, president of Toebben Communities. Other builders said the sewer work is positive news because it will open up spots in the very popular Hebron area.

Campbell County is experiencing a surge of new homes, and Miller said that trend is likely to continue, especially if Kenton County doesn’t change its land-use policies.

“If the current policy continues we can expect Kenton to remain growth stagnant and for Campbell to surpass them relatively soon,” Miller said.

Campbell County has issued 91 building permits from January to June, up from 63 for the same period in 2015. Drees Homes, a builder throughout Greater Cincinnati, has made a push in Campbell County in Arcadia Manor and Eagle Ridge in Alexandria.

Residents in Kenton County have continually supported green space initiatives that leave agriculture a strong part of the identity in the southern part of the county.

From January through June, 408 residential home permits have been issued in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties -- only four more than the same period in 2015. Schroder said numbers are expected to hit more than 1,000 by the end of the year, still down from the 2,000 homes built a decade ago.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” Schroder said, adding that five years ago the annual construction number was closer to 500.