Dane County Housing StartsEvery two weeks for the past 20 years Dominic Collar’s staff drives to 680 municipal offices throughout Wisconsin to count building permits. That's thousands of miles of driving every year. But it's business as usual for MTD Marketing Services of Wisconsin, the sales and marketing forecasting company that Dominic runs. Compiling data for MABA (Madison Area Builder’s Association), among other clients, MTD's unique data gathering, forecasting and analysis enables Dane County builders to make more informed decisions about which price points, square footage and geographic target areas are most likely to succeed from one year to the next in Dane County, Wisconsin.

Dane County Housing Starts for December 2008

December was the worst month for housing starts in the 20 years Dominic has been tracking housing starts data. An average December is about 250-260 but December ’08 saw a mere 20 housing starts. That's a 74% drop from December 2007’s 78 housing starts and a 90% drop from the December 2003 high of 210.

Dane County Housing Starts for 2008

20 years ago housing starts in Dane County averaged 1200-1300 per year. 10 years ago housing starts averaged 1900 per year. In 2008 housing starts were 667, down 42.8% from 2007’s 1167 housing starts. The prior year didn’t fare much better. 2006’s 1396 housing starts was also a dramatic decline from 2005’s 2319 housing starts, a drop of 39.8%. Declines from 2004 to 2005 and 2006 to 2007 were modest in comparison at 8.5% and 16.4%, respectively.

Current Dane County Housing Starts Supply

As of February 2008 there is a 12 month supply of housing starts in Dane County. That’s down from the two year supply ending June 30th, 2008. The reason? Housing starts for spec homes are way down. Veridian, for example, one of the largest builders in the area, dramatically reduced the number of spec homes it offered in 2008 and yet sold more homes than in previous years by focusing on selling contract houses instead of building spec homes.

The trend line for 2009 remains uncertain. Although it looks like it can't go much lower, these are unprecedented times and, admittedly, Collar says, anything could happen. In any case housing starts will be a key measure to keep an eye on. MTD’s statistical analysis and forecasting has proven so accurate, says Collar, that it typically provides him with a three month’s heads-up as to what the market will be doing months down the road.

Check out Madison's current supply of new construction homes and see if one is right for you or use our powerful tools to search the MLS for new construction homes in any municipality that interests you in South Central Wisconsin. If you have questions or need more information, don't hesitate to call us anytime at (608) 230.5553.

My special thanks to Dominic Collar of MTD Marketing Services of Wisconsin. For more information about MTD's services, please call Dominic at (920) 993.8435.

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