Homebuilders busy again in corners of metro Phoenix

Homebuilding, metro Phoenix's biggest industry before the housing crash, is on the rise again. Unlike in the past, this burst in the region's homebuilding isn't being driven by buyers going farther and farther out to find a house they can afford or investors looking for bargains. In some areas of metro Phoenix, including Chandler and Gilbert in the southeast and Peoria and Surprise in the northwest, short-sale home prices are climbing so high due to multiple offers that resale home prices are rivaling new-home costs. At the same time, builders are able to put up new houses for costs that let them compete with foreclosure-home prices. Many picked up empty lots in prime locations for bargain prices during the crash and can keep construction costs low. The results: Among buyers, a growing number who have been outbid multiple times on short sales and foreclosures are opting to purchase new houses instead. And among builders, who have seen several dismal years of slow sales and deep losses, some are now reporting profits or at least their highest monthly sales in years.

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