There was some welcome positive economic news from home building industry officials this week: the state's housing market is on the mend.
Lee Schwartz, executive vice president for governmental relations for the Michigan Association of Home Builders, made a trip to Marquette recently to meet with the the Upper Peninsula Builders Association to talk about the market rebound.
It's been a long time since there was good news in the home sector, but according to The Associated Press, construction starts on single family homes and apartments in September were at the highest level since the summer of 2008.
The industry was hit hard nationwide by the Great Recession, but the experts say Marquette County homeowners were sheltered from the worst of the housing crisis. As a small, off-the-beaten-track community with a diverse economic base, the housing bubble wasn't as pronounced here. So, when the housing bubble burst, the decline was also not as bad.
That relative stability has made it a bright spot in a state hit hard by job losses, outmigration and a stagnant economy.
According to Marquette developer Lynn Swadley, surging condominium sales and a revived market for new home sales in this area are generating a "renewed optimism" in the local housing market, making Marquette "one of those shining lights in the state."
We hope that light stays on and continues to grow brighter, because good news for the construction industry is good news for the economy as a whole.
Schwartz said the average home building project puts 25 to 30 people to work during various stages of construction - with spinoff jobs pushing the impact even higher.
We're reasonably confident this housing turnaround is just in its beginning stages. With mortage rates hovering at historically low levels and the unemployment rate slowly edging downward, it's a great time to build, buy or renovate a home.
We expect to see more good news on the home front going forward.