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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 11:57am

Augusta Homes Rank High

The Augusta housing market is seeing improvement.

Businessweek magazine has ranked the city as one of the top ten metropolitan areas for new home construction in the U.S.

The area saw a 21 percent increase in new building permits for single family homes in the first six months of 2009 over the same time last year, and a 29 percent increase in multifamily homes.

Economic development officials say cheaper home prices and smart development has contributed to the increase.

"Housing costs in Augusta are 38 percent of the national average, so there's a very strong and affordable housing market her," said Walter Sprouse, director of the Development Authority of Richmond County.

Sprouse also said while the region has suffered from the recession, including an unemployment rate of 10 percent, a diverse economy with a large army base and medical school has helped maintain some stability.

Businessweek has also ranked Augusta and Gainesville among the top 30 markets in the U.S. where home values increased.

To see the rankings on new home construction, click here.

To see the rankings on the top 30 housing markets, click here.

To hear an interview with Walter Sprouse, click the audio link below.