Music of hammers returning: Sound of new home construction in Carson City heard after four years of silence
After a four-year hiatus from any building activity, six new homes are being built in the Silver Oak Homes development in North Carson City and will be completed by summer.
“We’re not making much money on them but it pays the mortgage and allows us to eat and we’re just grateful to be doing something after a long, long period of doing nothing,” said Mark Turner, co-owner of Black Pine Construction and Silver Oak Homes in Carson City.
He adds, “This is the most activity we’ve seen since 2006.”
Turner and his partner Sean Richards teamed up with Sam Landis and Jim Feser of Ridgeline Development to build the homes. So far, two homes are under construction with the other four starting within a month. Also, five of the six homes have been sold.
The construction activity in the housing development is an uncommon sight for the capital since the housing boom gave way to bust.
But nationwide, housing starts are on the rise, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Privately-owned housing starts in January rose to 591,000, a 2.8 percent increase from December 2009 and a 21.1 percent increase from January 2009, during which 488,000 were recorded.
Turner said interest in the new homes, even if it is just six, is thanks to the first-time home buyer tax credit, which awards $8,000 to those who qualify and $6,500 for those looking to upgrade. He adds the recent 90 percent reduction on water and sewer hook-up fees in Carson City helped, too.
The homes this time around are smaller than those built earlier this decade, now closer to 2,000 square feet rather than 3,000 square feet.
The new construction also has put about a dozen people back to work.
Turner said buyers today want more energy efficient homes that can cut heating and cooling costs by half compared to a home built 15 years ago.
Despite new reasons for entering the market, including the federal tax credits, which expire in June, the housing outlook remains cloudy.
“That’s the $2 million question,” Turner said. “We hope it continues to show some green shoots, there’s nothing out there that’s giving us any strong direction about where it’s going one way or another. We’re just going to try to stay hopeful and as busy as we can.”