For the first half of the year, the county issued permits to build more than 90 new homes, and about a third of those were for houses worth $500,000 or more. The new construction signals a renewed interest in spending and promises short-term jobs for area workers.
“Contractors, electricians and plumbers, most of them have work now,” said Tony Elders, director of permitting and code enforcement for the county. “And there were times they didn’t have anything to do.”
The residential construction figures put the county in the lead among other counties west of Buncombe and ahead of its own tallies from the same period last year.
Apart from residential construction activity, the county also issued permits for 18 new commercial buildings in the first seven months of 2013 — a new bank along U.S. 441 heading toward Cherokee, a doctor’s office near the hospital in Sylva and a new office building in Cashiers, to name a few.
Six of those permits came in the month of July alone. More to come soon will be the county’s new liquor store in Cashiers, a Verizon store and a drive through burger joint in Sylva.
During 2008 and 2009, Elders said only a couple of commercial building permits were issued each year.
“That’s a big deal,” he said. “That number dies during the recession.”