HOUSING ‘BOOMLET:’ Construction beginning to make comeback

A new home is near completion on Oak Ridge Dr. in Carson City Wednesday.

A new home is near completion on Oak Ridge Dr. in Carson City Wednesday.

Carson City residential construction is moving forward at a quickened pace, picking up in 2013 and 2014 more briskly than since 2007.

Community Development Director Lee Plemel said Wednesday single-family home building permits for this year reached 24 recently, and in 2013 there were 27, both of which surpass the pre-recession 23 of seven years ago. The National Bureau of Economic Research pegged the beginning of the so-called Great Recession as Dec., 2007.

Though such housing permits data falls far short of the hundreds annually in the late 1990s and early this century, it still shows signs of construction life during a gathering recovery here and across the country. Plemel’s data was provided in the aftermath of national news showing housing starts nationwide were up 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally-adjusted 1.09 million units. Much of that surge, however, was in multi-family housing such as apartments.

The 15.7 percent figure was an eight-month high, but single-family home groundbreakings were up in July at a slower 8.3 percent rate for a seven-month high.

Locally, people in real estate and construction, as well as Plemel, said they were seeing some of the fruits of the housing recovery.

“We’re still going forward with new construction, and I think there’s a lot of potential for new construction,” said Bob Fredlund, a Coldwell Banker agent who handles both residential and commercial properties. He works with a builder and said he’s been involved in up to 20 new residential homes this year.

A spokesman for the construction industry also sounded upbeat about progress.

“We are seeing activity, and we’re seeing dirt moving on developments,” said Aaron West, CEO of the 650-member Builders Association of Western Nevada (BAWN). The association, which headquarters in Carson City but serves the construction field in the region and state as well, according to West is seeing “a good pace in construction activity in Carson City and Douglas County.”

Plemel’s city figures, however, deal just with single-family homes and don’t mirror the boomlet in multi-family housing going on across the nation in many larger communities. Plemel indicated there hasn’t been multi-familiy activity through his department as yet. His figures also show how far the recovery has to go before anything like the boom of 1996-2003 is approached.

Here is the data for Carson City single-family houses over nearly two decades:

For 1996, there were 346 permits; in 1997, 283; in 1998, 253; in 1999, 286; in 2000, 271; in 2001, 288; in 2002, 283; in 2003, 174; in 2004, 87; in 2005, 78; in 2006, 49; in 2007, 23; in 2008, 13; in 2008, eight; in 2010, 10; in 2011, the low was reached at seven; in 2012, 10, and then the pickup brought 27 last year and 24 already this year through Monday.

Plemel’s data showed that this year’s permits might easily exceed those in 2013 before the year ends, but he said the Schulz Ranch subdivision first-phase for 100 lots won’t get to the construction stage this year. That means a return to triple-digit housing permits status for the city won’t return until at least 2015.


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