Building permit records reveal that housing starts in eight of Sangamon County's largest communities are falling. A total of 244 permits were issued in 2012 in Springfield, Chatham, Auburn, Sherman, Rochester, Riverton, Williamsville and New Berlin. That's 20 percent fewer permits than the 304 permits issued in 2010. Dave Mathews, the president of the Springfield Area Home Builders Association, says what happened in 2012 is a continuation of what started in the years since the economic downturn. But industry experts say there is reason for optimism. Dave Cave, the president of the Capital Area Association of Realtors, says that despite the fact that the number of new homes being built and sold has fallen, the median sale price has continued to climb.
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