The usual suspects that’ll stall a hot housing market seemed to all be in place with prices escalating and the supply dwindling.

But one thing that didn’t join the party was mortgage interest rates, which have been falling for the past several weeks. For the week ending June 27, Freddie Mac reported an average of 3.84%, down from 4.55% at this time a year ago.

So, it was no surprise when Realtors in the Volusia/Flagler area reported selling 1,373 existing houses in May, up 12.8% from May 2018. The median price at $225,000, was up 7.2%. The lower interest rate is putting home buying within the reach of more people.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported permits were issued for 243 housing units (233 single-family) in the Volusia/Flagler area in May, compared to 248 (180 single-family) in May 2018. That’s with only about 65% of the area reporting, but builders obviously were still putting up a lot more single-family houses.

Through May, the bureau reported permits issued for 998 housing units issued in the two-county area with 928 for single-family homes compared to 966 through the first five months of 2018 with 800 single-family units.

Looking ahead, the two most active builders in Volusia County, DR Horton and Minto Communities filed notices of commencement for 88 houses in June, nearly identical to 84 in May, but down slightly from 93 in June 2018. The decline was attributable to Minto. There was no way it was going to keep up the torrid pace it was at for the first few months of Latitude Margaritaville, so it has dropped to 20 to 30 new houses a month.

Stepping into the breach is ICI Homes, which was already active in Plantation Bay and Chelsea Place in Ormond Beach and Mosaic in Daytona Beach, and now Woodhaven in Port Orange.

***

We now know what Unicorp National Corp. wants to building on the 14 acres at the southwest corner of Clyde Morris and LPGA boulevards that it bought from Consoldiated-Tomoka Land Co. for $3.8 million. The developer has submitted plans for The Edison apartment complex.

Speaking of the Daytona Beach-based land company, it sold a 76,000-square-foot multi-tenant office property in Santa Clara, Calif., for $37 million, bought a 15,000-square-foot building (leased to Walgreens) on 3.55 acres in Albany, Ga., for $3.6 million and renewed its lease to Century Theatres in Reno, Nev.

***

Just like in Port Orange, a developer has found a place to tuck in a townhouse development, seeking site plan approval from Volusia County for a 123-unit one on a 39.83-acre property at the west end of Golf Avenue and south side of Avenue K, about ¾ miles west of South Nova Road in the Ormond Beach area.

***

In some other developments, Insight Credit Union is putting an office at North Woodland Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in DeLand. A plan was submitted to the city to convert Bob Evans restaurant at 2000 W. International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach to a retail store. The name of the occupant was not mentioned. The 7-Elevening of Volusia County continues with signs going up on the soon to be former Sunoco store at Nova Road and Bellevue Avenue in Daytona Beach. Also, Holly Hill businessman Robin D. Hanger has bought the lot where Freedom Cycles was at 841 Ridgewood Ave. in Holly Hill for $450,000.

***

On a final note, passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport declined 6.8% in May from May 2018 with the loss of JetBlue. During the month, 63,751 passengers flew in or out of the facility, compared to 68,418 passengers last May. Putting a positive spin on the news, airport officials noted JetBlue flew 8,000 passengers in May last year, so other carriers have taken up about half the slack.

Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 22 years. Contact him at cbrumley@hometownnewsmediagroup.com (no hyphen) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.

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