9-22-2019 More expensive homes being built

Posted on: September 23rd, 2019 by admin


September 22, 2019


By Virginia Annable


Sep 22, 2019 12:00 AM

More houses are going up in Caldwell County, and more of them are high priced homes than in recent years, according to building permit data in the county.


After 2007, the height of residential building in Caldwell’s recent history, building was on the decline until 2012, when residential building started to rise again. Only recently, though, did those numbers show sharp improvement, not only in the number of new homes being built but also in their value.


In 2018, total building permits for new single family homes jumped to 146 from 108 in 2017 and 91 in 2016. In 2019, through August there were already 98, on pace to match the 2018 total.


The investment jumped too, from $27.5 million total valuation of all the new residential building permits in 2017 to $42.4 million — a leap of $50,000 in the average building permit value, which went from $240,000 in 2017 to $290,000 in 2018.


The fact that building permits through August were on track to match 2018 is a sign the surge in building could last, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


“I would look at it as evidence of further recovery from the Great Recession,” she said.


While there hasn’t been a huge leap in overall residential building permits — which includes new houses as well as additions and renovations to homes — only bumping from 320 in 2017 to 350 in 2018, Murrays thinks the increasing dollar value is important.


“Because of the difference (in valuation), I really believe we’re in better shape than the general numbers might indicate at the superficial levels,” she said.


The dozens of homes being built in the last couple years that cost several hundred thousand dollars each are custom built homes, Murray said. They range from $400,000 to as high as $1 million, and they’re proof of real investment, she said. Unlike the housing that was being built in 2007, when there were more than 300 new single-family home building permits, much of which was speculative housing built for the open market, the houses being built today are being built for specific buyers.


On a map, it’s clear where many of the high priced custom homes are going — in Collettsville in the area of The Coves Mountain River Club and along the lake in the southern part of the county.


Those homes are bumping up the average monthly amount for permits each year. In 2017, the monthly average total value of permits for new single family houses was $2.2 million. That number moved to $3.5 million in 2018, and so far in 2019 the average total per month is $3.4 million.


“The numbers are getting stronger and stronger and stronger,” Murray said. “We’re not talking about a tidal wave, but when you look at the dollars invested … you’re starting to see some better numbers.”


Murray said this improvement may be small, but it’s an indicator that the economy is strengthening.


“It’s like turning a battleship around — it’s so huge you don’t notice it,” Murray said. “But when you look back at it you see movement.”


Reporter Virginia Annable can be reached at 828-610-8724.

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