One sure sign it's Spring in Utah's Dixie is the annual St. George Arts Festival (running this weekend) and yet another is Building Permit activity....what?!?! Yes, building permits.

No, they are not really a sign of Spring per se, but may be a sign of "Spring" for the once nearly dead Washington County Construction market.

This week we toured the Salisbury Homes develpment of Stone Henge in the Washington Fields. Mortgage Jedi Blake Bench of First Colony Mortgage joins us - he is a good friend and the "preferred" lender for the project. The value out there is insane!!

The main point is this: Housing markets & the economies that surround them are highly driven by construction and real estate sales activity, or the lack thereof. 12-15 months ago sales & construction activity in Washington County nearly came to a screeching halt and the fear was palpable.

As you can see in the chart below of Washington County Real Estate Sales, what a difference a year makes. (2010 is in PURPLE).

While we are not out of this mess yet - nor will be for some period of time, it is obvious that both affordability and consumer confidence are on the rise - by nearly 200% compared to this time a year ago and even higher than 2008.

What are your thoughts?