We wish we could say it got better, but the number of building permits issued in 2013 indicates things in construction haven’t turned around yet. Not even close.
Last year’s numbers were only slightly better than those in 2009, when the town closed out one of its worst years on record when it came to issuing building permits.
Preliminary figures obtained by the Roundup show the town issued 33 permits for single-family homes, just one for a manufactured home and a measly two for commercial construction last year.
Except for single-family permits, those numbers are worse than those seen in 2012 and 2009, when the construction crash brought on by the mortgage meltdown trashed one of the region’s economic pillars.
In fact, the number of permits has been falling since 2008. The town went from routinely issuing 200 to 300 building permits
annually to about 50 permits that year.
In 2009, the town issued 27 permits for single-family houses, plus another 11 for manufactured homes and two for commercial construction.
In 2012, builders took out 29 single-family permits, but manufactured home permits fell to seven. Commercial construction permits increased by two to four.
In 2013, the only glimmer of hope was in single-family permits. Seven new permits taken out in December brought the year total to 33.
That number surprised Christine Floyd, executive assistant with community development.
“I wasn’t expecting that many for December,” she said. “When I saw that number I went, ‘Wow.’”
Still, things are nowhere near where they were in 2004 when the area saw a huge boom in home building.
“We are telling people if they ask that we
are starting to see a small upswing,” Floyd said. “But I don’t know how long, if ever, we will get back to those numbers. At this point we are basically maintaining.”
Things on the commercial side don’t show much promise. The only new buildings include a Carl’s Jr. and a metal building near the airport.
On building fees, 2013 did bring in more money for the town.
Total building fees increased half a percentage from 2012, with the first 11 months of 2013 ending at $214,900. When the town adds in December numbers, 2013 will likely show an unexceptional increase in fees.