Metro Housing Market Comeback Spurs Jobs

Updated: 11/24/2012 12:48 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

The market for new homes is making a comeback in the Metro and the best sign of the bounce may be that builders are looking for skilled trade workers.

If you want a clear picture of the housing industry, head to The Enclave in Medina. A year ago, it was a plot of land. Now, it is a mixture of houses and future homes. The project, constructed by Lennar, will eventually have 146 homes.

"In this market, in the Twin Cities right now, we are full steam ahead back pretty much," said Mike Lind, a constructionary manager for Lennar in the Twin Cities.

The housing market dipped to a near halt during the recession and people either walked out or decided not to come in. In the past year, the market has drastically changed.

"All of the sudden we find ourselves with a shortage of labor in a very short period of time," said David Siegel, Executive Director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.

From carpentry and siding to heating and air, job openings are aplenty.

"Framing crews, for example, they are having a really hard time finding folks to frame. Paint shops are having a hard times finding folks to paint. We think it's a pretty broad array of job opportunities that are out there," Siegel said.

Those workers will be in high demand in Woodbury where more than 2,000 acres of land could soon be the site of up to 6,000 homes. Last week, City Council agreed to start accepting the first plans.

But Woodbury is only one block of the re-growth.

Last year, less than 4,000 units were constructed in the Metro. This year, builders are on their way to doubling that number.

"We're not at a stage that we would call normal yet but we're significantly better than where we've been," Siegel said.

According to a recent poll by Integra Realty Resources, 75 percent of Americans still hope to own a home. Now a dream job may not be far behind.

"Finally we've hit the bottom, we're finally moving back up to where we want to be and where I think the market needs us to be. Communities need us to be developing and building," Siegel said.

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities will host a career fair on February 5th.