With new home starts up 53 percent  in the Twin Cities, finding a buildable lot is getting a whole lot more difficult.

Lot inventory is now at its lowest level since 2007, according to Metrostudy, a national research company with an office in Plymouth. Here are the highlights from the group's quarterly survey - hot off the presses.

  • Lot supplies across the 7-county metro area fell to just 33.4 months, signaling a return to levels not seen since before the housing boom.
  • 1,135 new homes were built, down 13 percent from the 4th quarter 2012, up 53 percent from last year. That was the fourth straight quarter during which starts exceeded 1,000
  • The rate of annual new home starts for single-family and townhome units across the Twin Cities area is at 5,022 new units - a 56 percent increase compared with last and the highest annual starts pace since 2008.
  • At the end of March there were 2,461 new housing units in inventory, up 7 percent from last quarter. 1,625 of those units (66 percent) are under construction, 547 (22 percent) are finished vacant inventory and 289 (12 percent) are model homes.
  • The supply of new houses dropped to 6.5 months - a healthy figure, according to MetroStudy's Ryan Jones, who said that equilibrium is between 6 to 7 months.
  • There are 24,559 vacant developed lots throughout the metro, 9 percent fewer than last year. In the 7-county metro there were only 12,052 vacant developed lots, a 13.7-percent decline from last year.

What's next? 

“While inventories remain tight, homebuilders will need to start looking to increase production in order to meet the growing demand," said Jones. "Look for the Twin Cities housing market to ramp up substantially over the next sixth months building up supplies of both housing and lot inventories. The market needs to stop worrying about next year and start planning for the next 5 – 10 years." 

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