Phoenix Builders Report Record in Housing Starts

Developers in metropolitan Phoenix finished 1984 with a record number of housing starts and foresee healthy business for at least six more months, according to the Home Builders Assn. of Central Arizona, which expects 1985 to be a good year for housing, although not so robust as 1984.

"We project about 45,000 units for 1985, which will put us close to the level of 1983," according to Richard E. Mettler, the association's executive vice president. "The first six months should be excellent but the last half is hard to predict; however, if interest rates stay constant, we'll be assured of growth throughout the year."

He added that 1984 was a "banner year" for Arizona housing. The association believes the year saw the construction of 57,000 to 58,000 dwellings of all types, a 25% increase over what was built in 1983.

Mettler attributed the prosperous year to the national economic recovery and to stable mortgage interest rates. Other factors include very high employment--Maricopa County (Phoenix) unemployment was only 3.3% in October--and to smaller houses; rather than the 1,500- to 1,600-square-foot home of five years ago, which would cost $90,000 today, the average home now is about 1,200 sqaure feet and costs $63,000.

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