Building permits are trending upwards in Haywood County thanks to an increase in single-family home construction.
The majority of new permits are for mid-range homes less than 4,000 square feet and below $500,000 in value, according to Bruce Crawford, director of building inspections in Haywood County.
The county issued 25 permits for single-family homes in July and August, compared to 16 for the same two-month period last year.
Building permits last fiscal year were up slightly compared to the year before as well.
During the 2012-2013 fiscal year ending in June, the county issued 105 permits for single-family homes. That’s 25 more than the previous year.
“I guess the economy is getting a little bit better,” Crawford said. “It has improved enough that people are starting to turn loose some money.”
The total number of all building permits issued by the county — including additions and commercial buildings — was up by 76 more permits last fiscal year compared to the prior year.
Permits for home additions still remained by far the most popular type of permit issued, topping nearly 250 last fiscal year. Home additions are likely up for several reasons. Low interest rates have made refinancing an attractive option, liquidating home equity for people to then plow into an addition. And those who want more space but are unable to sell their existing home for a decent price tend to improve what they already have instead of moving.
The county has not seen much in the way of new business permits, however.
“Basically, all we’ve seen is just small business type stuff and not much of that,” Crawford said.
The county’s building permit numbers don’t include construction in the town limits of Waynesville, which handles its own building permits. Waynesville issued 16 more buidling permits last year than the year before, but so far this year is about even with the same period last year.
— By Caitlin Bowling