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Home Remodeling Overtakes New Home Building

By: Liza Park
By: Liza Park

Like most places around the country, the Tallahassee home building industry has been booming since interest rates drastically fell after 9/11.

"There was a rush on selling. It was really a seller's market here in the last year or so. That has slowed down somewhat, but it's still very healthy in Leon County," explains Linda Hill of Florida Commerce Credit Union, a financial institution that handles home mortgages.

Now that interest rates are inching back up, what's in store the home building industry?

"If the last 20 years are any indication, as rates go up, then there's more remodeling and additions. When rates go down, there's more new home construction," says Kip Carpenter, owner of Carpenter Construction Company.

Carpenter says more dollars are already going into remodeling and additions of existing homes rather than building brand new homes, and this is partially due to decreasing amounts of buildable land in Tallahassee.

"If you ask the bulk of the new home builders, they'll tell you that right now is buildable lots is the biggest issue and it's a highly political, politically charged issue," adds Carpenter.

Home builders say as available land to build on in Tallahassee becomes more difficult to find and gas prices continue to escalate, condominiums located in the middle of town are becoming more attractive to some home buyers.

Carpenter also says he's happy to see attempts to revitalize the downtown area with the new residential condos and businesses.

Home builders also say that Tallahassee's large college population affects the home building market, available building space and home values.


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