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Posted on Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Pittsfield Township leads region in new home construction

By Lizzy Alfs


Pittsfield Township new home construction (Kirtland Hills is pictured here) is among the most active in Southeast Michigan.

Daniel Brenner |

Related story: Is new construction back? Residential building permits up 35 percent in county

Pittsfield Township ranks in the top 10 Southeast Michigan communities with the most residential building activity, according to data compiled by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

Pittsfield Township — which is experiencing a spike in new construction after years of sluggish activity — ranked seven out of 10 among communities with the most residential building permits filed last year.

“Pittsfield Township covers two of your hotter (real estate) markets in the county: Ann Arbor and Saline,” said local homebuilder Jim Haeussler of Peters Building Co. “You get some of the amenities of Ann Arbor with township taxes.”

There were 107 new homes constructed in Pittsfield Township last year — a seven-year high and also a steady increase from the 33 homes built in 2009.

Haeussler, along with national builders like Toll Brothers, are building on already-developed lots in the township and completing projects that were started years ago.

Pittsfield Township also has available land and the values are attractive to builders, said Colliers International’s Richard Timmons.

“I think the big draw is that there is land there, and there are projects that did get started and there are some developed lots there already,” Timmons said. “Some of the banks foreclosed on those and resold them at lower values.”

Maureen Sloan, CEO of the Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor, agreed, saying: (Pittsfield Township) had lots that were ready to go when the downturn occurred.”

Last year, Toll Brothers made an offer to developer Louis Johnson to build on 24 lots in The Pines at Lake Forest, a Pittsfield Township property near Ellsworth and Maple roads. Meanwhile, Haeussler said he’s currently building on his last remaining lot in the Kirtland Hills subdivision.

Regionally, Macomb Township led Southeast Michigan last year with 497 new homes constructed. Other areas seeing increased activity include Canton Township, Oakland Township, Troy and Shelby Township.

Washtenaw County builders also report increased building activity in Saline and Dexter. Doug Selby of Ann Arbor’s Meadowlark Builders said he’s seeing demand for homes in Superior Township and the Loch Alpine subdivision northwest of Ann Arbor.

“There is a lot of pressure (in those areas),” he said. “There’s definitely strong interest in land and existing houses.”

Here’s a look at how the number of residential building permits stacked up in certain areas of Washtenaw County last year:

  • Ann Arbor: 9
  • Ann Arbor Township: 3
  • Ypsilanti: 1
  • Ypsilanti Township: 19
  • Chelsea: 13
  • Dexter: 31
  • Dexter Township: 20
  • Pittsfield Township: 107
  • Saline: 7
  • Scio Township: 27

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Why would ANYONE buy a new house right now? New home sales were at the lowest they've EVER been in 2011. Of COURSE when it's the lowest the chance that it might actually improve are IMMENSE....but it's improved to JUST SLIGHTLY ABOVE THE WORST IT HAS EVER BEEN....perspective people... NO ONE IS BUYING NEW!!!! SO STOP BUILDING NEW HOUSES!!!! You are building more houses onto land that NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY.... I can't tell you how many $500k+ neighborhoods I like to watch the property situations of that I see that have houses that go up for sale only a few years after they get built...and NEVER SELL. Anyone involved in NEW development right now is just working the system and is unscrupulous. You talk a bank into giving you $300k to put up a couple of houses that costs you less than $50k in material and labor. have 2-3 houses and over $100k pure profit in the bank. And of course the banks and construction companies want to do this as much as possible because money spent this way IS A TAX HAVEN!!!!! Oh but I have a tin cap don't I?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

I always thought we should change the name Pittsfield to something more attractive. Any suggestions?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.



Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

Vinylville? Exfarmville? They seem to name subdivisions after things they destroy...hmmmmmm


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Wonder if any new developments are planned near the potential runway expansion. The Pines at Ellsworth & Maple is actually less than 1.5 miles as the crow (or Lear jet) flies. Boy, that would be a fun topic.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

It is easy to build houses but maybe not so easy to sell them. Homes built during the several years prior to the economic crisis were sold mostly to people who could not afford them and should never have obtained mortgages. These unqualified purchasers were sought because all qualified home purchasers were already in homes. Realtors, local bankers and Wall Street investment houses made lots of money off mortgages and their risks were reduced when the mortgages were sold to Wall Street, then sliced-and-diced and dispersed in pieces among securitized mortgages which were then sold to institutions and individuals. Credit Default Obligations and Swaps (CDOs and CDSs) were created to protect those purchasing securitized mortgage Qualified buyers for new housing may remain in short supply but, without new rules, mortgages can again be distributed to poorly qualified applicants. So another economic catastrophe may be in the making. Thus, the number of new houses being built may not reflect an upturn in the economy. Watch carefully how readily these new homes are purchased and whether bankruptcies increase over the next several years. Deja Vu anyone?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

You can ALSO blame the unscrupulous builders who built these homes without ANY buyers lined up ahead of time. That's why you have so many of these McMansions in the surrounding 100 miles or so that are empty.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

I didn't think there was any land left in Pittsfield without a house on it...


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

You mean the vinyl sided jungle may be in decline?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

I'm happy that the place I live & we chose to grow our family in IS BUILDING and growing. But can anyone tell me WHY can we not use Pittsfield when giving someone our address? Why? I have to use Ypsilanti ( thank you for letting me use your fine city's name) If were so big & growing why must we use other city's for where we live? Anyone?


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

" if we were to build a post office here, would we then be able to use Pittsfields name?? " "We"? Are you offering? At a time when the Postal Service is retrenching because it's running a huge ($16 Billion in yesterday's headlines) deficit -- partly because of e-mail and FedEx/UPS competition, partly because there's huge and vocal political opposition to shutting small, "inefficient" post offices (however money-losing), partly because of Congressional ineptitude -- it's pretty unlikely that you'll ever get a new post office. If it means so much to you, let me ask: what happens if mail is addressed to you at ____ Street, Pittsfield Township, MI [your zip code]? Is it returned to sender marked "no such address", or does the automatic scanning/barcoding machinery read the zip code and route it to the Ypsi post office, which delivers it to you, most of the time? (Probably an imposition on the postal clerks, if you care.)


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Where is Pittsfield town? You live in Pittsfield TOWNSHIP. I live in Dexter TOWNDSHIP and my mailing address is Dexter.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Well you are are ready telling me something everyone is saying. Thank you for taking the time. I still do not get it. Pittsfield is so large, I don't care if I had to Use Saline or Ann Arbor, I want to use MY TOWN....Pittsfield. if we were to build a post office here, would we then be able to use Pittsfields name?? I'm proud of where we live, I just don't understand the use of other city's to say where we live.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

The Post Office that services you is located in Ypsilanti and that is why you have Ypsilanti as your address. It cuts both ways. There is a part of Pittsfield that has an Ann Arbor address. An Ann Arbor address with Pittsfield is quite attractive. Perhaps you should have researched this prior to buying your home.