Home building shows signs of improving

People who make a living in home building and home improvement businesses think it’s a pretty good time for them.

“We just had the best couple of months we’ve ever had for sales,” said Scott Walker, of Hearthstone Inc. in Lock Haven.

Walker said people are buying timber and log homes his company sells, a sign that the housing industry is on the rise.

He was among a number of vendors at the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association Home Show hoping to find even more customers this weekend.

“We do everything from one-room additions to entire homes,” he said.

Most recently, his company finished a very large home for a local industry leader.

He’s hopeful that the good times will continue.

The National Association of Realtors recently reported an increase in home sales for January.

Meanwhile, a seller’s market is developing and home prices continue to rise steadily from last year. Sales reportedly increased in every region of the nation but the West, an area most constrained by limited inventory.

Bill Harrison, owner of Harrison Construction Inc. in Cogan Station, said his business is receiving a lot inquiries from customers looking to build and remodel homes.

“It seems like we are going to be busy building homes, and we have remodeling to do, too,” he said.

His company has sold a number of lots for homes.

He also has a spec home that is close to being sold.

Mark Satteson, of Fine Line Homes in Winfield, said for the most part he’s seen an increase in home sales compared to the last few years.

“January was slow. February was good,” he said.

Overall, he said, there’s more interest from home buyers right now.

However, he remains apprehensive.

He said banks still haven’t loosened up their lending.

Still, a good potential buyer with solid credit always is a good bet for a sale, especially with interest rates remaining so low.

“It’s not the doom and gloom it has been,” he said. “It has picked up. More people are coming in.”

People are showing signs of improving their existing homes.

Pam Keefer, co-owner of Aquarius Pool and Patio in Williamsport, said pools sales are up.

“I just think in general pools are going in more,” she said. “People are staying home more. It’s a family thing.”

Keefer said people are looking for both in-ground and above-ground pools.

Right now marks one of the best times of year for pools sales.

John Kauffman, owner of Geo Climate Control Inc. in Danville, said both owners of new and old homes have been looking to geothermal heating and cooling systems he sells and installs.

“It’s been busy,” he said. “We have been doing pretty well.”