How new home sales and construction permits compare to last year

    buildinghomeNew home sales and new residential construction permits are continuing their 2016 rise — at least when compared to 2015.

    But they are still down from pre-recession levels when builders were building and banks handing out mortgages that built toward a Hindenburg-scale bubble and crash.

    Scottsdale-based RL Brown Housing Reports’ latest data batch shows new home sales were up 47.6 percent in March versus a year ago.

    Builders sold 1,408 homes last month versus 954 in March 2015.

    For the year, home sales are up 37 percent for the first quarter compared to a year earlier, according to RL Brown.

    Builders applied for 4,258 construction permits for new homes in the Valley during the first quarter. That is up 32.5 percent from the same period in 2015, according to the Scottsdale real estate research firm.

    But how are the current numbers comparing to before Arizona’s calamitous real estate crash?

    The first quarter of 2005 saw builders pull 15,381 permits for new homes, according to RL Brown and a past Phoenix Business Journal report.

    Builders took out a record 63,570 permits in 2005.

    They pulled 12,868 permits in the first quarter of 2006.

    The housing market has improved over last year but there is a marked difference between now and from when the bubble was about to burst.

    Existing home sales were up 8.7 in the first quarter of 2016 versus the same period in 2015 (21,736 homes sold vs. 19,995), according to RL Brown.

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