Posted: Mar 25, 2013 8:20 AM by Beth Saboe
Updated: Mar 25, 2013 8:28 AM
BOZEMAN - A record number of people came through the doors of the MSU Brick Breeden Fieldhouse Saturday and Sunday to check out the Southwest Montana Building Industry Association's Home Expo.
Organizers estimate over 6,000 people attended the two-day event and point to the increased interest as a sign that construction is making a come-back in the Gallatin Valley.
"There's been a lot of growth in the local building industry. Everyone's really excited," said SWMBIA president Nathan Albrecht.
Demand for commercial buildings and residential housing has been up over the past nine months. Albrecht said several factors have contributed to the growth, including, the price of land stabilizing and people having better success qualifying for bank loans.
"If you're thinking of building, you need to do it now because your lot may not be available tomorrow," said Albrecht. He added that a couple of subdivisions he's been working with have seen a daily decrease in the number of lots for sale.
A recent national survey said Montana currently has one of the best housing markets in the country.
Credit.com predicts Montana is one of the "top five states that will lead the housing recovery."
The report gave the Big Sky state such a favorable ranking due to the low number of foreclosures and Montanans' high credit scores.
While builders are obviously benefiting from more business, they aren't the only ones who profit as the demand for housing increases. At the Expo, more than 140 booths showcased everything from hot tubs to lawn care. Distinctive Lighting owner Bill Fiedler said business has been so good it's taken him a bit by surprise.
"We weren't anticipating such a large increase so quickly. It's been a great first quarter and seems like more people are either building homes, or remodeling and doing updates so it's been great," said Fiedler.
Albrecht said it's been rough to watch the construction industry struggle for the past four years and he's excited to see some optimism from fellow builders.
"You see a bit more happiness. I was just talking to a guy who mentioned he bought a new truck and the dealer told him how happy he was that we (builders) were doing well again because it meant he was selling more vehicles," said Albrecht. "I think on the economy as whole, when the construction industry is doing well, everything is doing well."