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VOL. 129 | NO. 56 | Friday, March 21, 2014

Shelby County Building Permits Down Slightly in February

By Amos Maki

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With bitterly cold temperatures lingering over the Memphis area last month, homebuilders pulled slightly fewer housing permits in February when compared to the same month last year.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 67 permits in February, down from 73 permits in February 2013 but up slightly from 64 permits filed in January, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Kim Grant Brown, president of the West Tennessee Home Builders Association, attributed the slight decrease in February sales compared to last year to the weather. The average temperature in February was 41.4 degrees, 4.4 degrees below normal, and freezing temperatures can have broad negative consequences for builders.

A cold February kept homebuilding activity down. Shelby County homebuilders filed 67 permits in the month, down from the 73 filed in the same month in 2013.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

“There’s nothing mysterious about it,” said Grant Brown. “I credit every bit of that to the weather. It was so cold we couldn’t grade lots, we couldn’t pave lots, we couldn’t pour concrete and we couldn’t lay bricks. Everything came to a stop for about four weeks.”

While permit activity was down when compared to February 2013, Grant Brown said it wasn’t an alarming decline.

“With how bad the weather was, it’s really not that bad,” she said.

February permits averaged 3,219 square feet and $243,754, compared to February 2013 averages of 3,157 square feet and $234,789.

Suburban locations in Shelby County continued to lead the way in homebuilding activity.

The Kensington subdivision in Arlington saw the most new home permits filed in February, with six averaging 2,858 square feet and $191,836. The Crisscross Village subdivision in Collierville came in second with five permits averaging 3,554 square feet and $249,900. The Porter Farms subdivision in Collierville recorded five permits, averaging 2,786 square feet and $245,200.

Collierville’s 38017 ZIP code saw the most permits filed, with 22 averaging 3,624 square feet and $291,583. Arlington’s 38002 ZIP code saw 13 permits averaging 2,833 square feet and $195,553. Cordova North’s 38016 ZIP code recorded 10 permits averaging 2,649 square feet and $212,768.

Grant Homes led the way in permits, with 15 averaging 2,876 square feet and $214,443. Regency Homebuilders had 10 permits averaging 3,215 square feet and $237, 925.

Builders sold 59 new homes in February with an average price of $254,883 and total sales volume of $15 million. That’s down from 56 new homes sold in February 2013 but up from the 45 new homes sold in January.

Regency Homebuilders led the way in sales with 13 averaging $238,304. Grant Homes came in second with six new home sales averaging $219,178.

After suffering through a prolonged depressed market triggered by the housing downturn and recession, the homebuilding industry showed signs that it had begun to regain its footing in 2013.

Homebuilders filed 870 permits in 2013, down 5.2 percent from 918 permits filed in 2012, but still far above the 698 permits filed in 2011. The average permit in 2013 measured 3,287 square feet and averaged $256,630, compared to 3,211 square feet and $245,627 in 2012.

Shelby County homebuilders filed 64 permits in January, up from 57 permits filed in January 2013 and 53 permits in December 2013.

But the colder than average winter has kept a lid on new permits and sales and has builders hoping for strong activity in the traditional spring home-selling season.

“I’m hoping traffic and sales pick up quickly,” Grant Brown said. “These next few weeks are going to be a big sign of things to come.”

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