Trends Show More Central Nebraskans Are Looking to Build Homes

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Building and renovating businesses in central Nebraska are hearing good news at the 38th Annual Nebraska Home and Builders Home: more central Nebraskans are looking to build new homes.

"The last few years have really trended toward additions and remodels and people sticking with the equity of their home, but this year and toward the end of last year, we've really seen an increase in the interest in new homes," said Keith Espeland, co-owner of Steadfast Builders.

"Not just spec houses, they're building custom houses," added Jeremy Vilcek, president of the Central Nebraska Home Builders Association.

In Grand Island, housing sales increased by 11 percent in 2012, according to the local chamber of commerce. And builders say 2013 is shaping up to be even better.

"This home show has been extremely busy. Usually we book a lot of meetings after the home show, but this year I've been booking four to five meetings a day," Vilcek said.

They say people are more serious and committed.

"Most of the people we've talked to are pretty serious and have a timeline, most of the time between six and 18 months of wanting to get their project either started or completed, which is pretty encouraging. There's a lot more commitment this year versus years prior," said Espeland.

"A lot of times people are just getting ideas, but this year more people are coming out and saying, this is what we want to do, when can we meet with you?" added Vilcek.

But why the turnaround? Banking experts say one reason is because financing rates are at historical lows.

"In 2012, probably did a little more than what we have in the past. Rates have been down, about as low as they've ever been," said Scott Wiltfong of Cornerstone Bank.

Whatever the reason, builders and renovators say they're just happy there's more business.