Impact 5: New home sales rising

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - New home sales are on the rise. The U.S. Commerce Department reports new home sales jumped 3.3 percent from March to April.  As part of our Impact 5 initiative on the housing crisis, NewsChannel 5 wanted to find out who's buying new homes in a housing market filled with foreclosures and short sales, and if this is a sign of more good news to come.

Home builder GL Homes hopes to build 800 new homes in Palm beach County this year. There are dozens of new homes being constructed in Delray Beach, at The Bridges.

"We believed that with the economy, kind of on the mend, the right location, and the right product, would be very well received by the marketplace," Jill DiDonna, from GL Homes, said.

And new housing numbers out this week show Americans are ready to buy. The Commerce Department says new home sales jumped 3.3 percent from March to April. And they're up nearly 10 percent from a year ago.

GL Homes says it's doing even better than the national average, despite a market still filled with foreclosures and short sales.

"Foreclosures are certainly something a home builder has to be aware of," DiDonna said.

But she says she's talked to a lot of buyers who get frustrated with that process.

"They'll usually give themselves 6 months to give it a try and when it doesn't work out, usually they come to us to buy a new home."

NewsChannel 5 asked Northwood business professor Mark Bush if now is the time to start building new homes. He says it's a positive.

"It means there's improvement in consumer confidence which will improve the overall economic spending in our area," Bush said.

New homes also mean new jobs.

"There's definitely a ripple down effect when you sell a new home, not only does a home builder need to hire people, (edit) but also all of the construction industries that we work with, pluming, air conditioning, drywall, all of those sub contractors also end up having to hire people to meet this new demand," DiDonna said.

GL Homes says it's seeing a mix of new home buyers, from young families, to retirees. Most are from this area.

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