Quad City home construction on the rise

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A full house for day one of the 35th annual Quad Cities' Home Show was good news for area builders and contractors.

"I think the past couple years it's been a little bit slower, and I think people are just feeling a little bit more comfortable with the economy, with their finances, and maybe they're been planning for a few years, and now they're ready to start," said Julie Awkerman, executive officer of Quad Cities Builders and Remodelers.

In the Iowa Quad Cites, there was a 49 percent jump in new home starts from 2011 to 2012. Across the river in Illinois, the growth is slower, but still up 4 percent.

"A lot of the Illinois area, it's a little bit landlocked, but there is some stuff starting out there, so we're happy to see that. Iowa has a little bit more viable land that is available," said Awkerman.

Builders said it's a positive sign after years of slumping sales.

"We're hoping it starts to turn around a lot more, we'd like to see it get back like it was in the year of 2008," said Dave Tennant of Mid-America Builders.

It's also a sign that shoppers' confidence is returning.

"The recession put a terrible fear in everybody; they were afraid to either build or remodel, for fear of not getting their money back out of it, and everything's starting to settle down," said remodeler Frank Ehrecke of Ehrecke Construction.

They're all hoping that as the weather heats up, sales will too.

"We're starting to see some activity with price-outs and stuff, so that's a good sign. We've already got a commitment for a few new homes for this next season, so we're looking forward to this season," said Tennant.

The Home Show continues throughout the weekend at the Expo Center in Rock Island. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sunday runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.