With an entire year’s worth of construction permitting data now available from the Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research, it’s time to review just how the southwest area of Utah performed during the past year.
While only Iron and Kane counties showed an overall improvement in permit values, home-permitting picked up dramatically in the area's largest counties. On the other hand, new nonresidential permit values dropped in every southwest county. Typically improvement in nonresidential permitting lags a surge in new homebuilding.
Beaver County’s overall construction permit values dropped by a whopping 70 percent. Of course, 2011 figures included a very large nonresidential permit. However, new nonresidential permitting still comprised the largest share of total permit values in 2012. New home permits have yet to show any signs of recovery in Beaver County. The one bright spot proved a strong gain in nonresidential additions/alterations/repairs.
At 45 percent, Iron County’s increase in new home permits proved the third-fastest in the state. The 2012 dwelling-unit figures also mark the first year of improvement since 2005. While the 94 new home permits rank nowhere near the boom levels of previous years, the strong improvement does seem indicative of a turn-around in the home building market. Indeed, new residential construction was almost entirely responsible for the county’s 10-percent increase in total permit values. Nonresidential permitting declined both in the new and additions/alterations/repairs categories.
Garfield County’s homebuilding market has yet to show signs of improvement. During 2012, Garfield County marked its fifth straight year of decreasing home permits. Unfortunately, total permit values dropped almost 40 percent during 2012 as every single permit category lost ground.
Homebuilding permits showed their first revival in Kane County since 2005. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of new dwelling units increased by one-fifth. Kane County also received a nice boost to total values (up 11 percent) from a surge in nonresidential additions/alterations/repairs.
In 2012, Washington County’s healthy 26-percent increase in new home permits coupled with an improving existing home sales market to point to the turnaround in the homebuilding industry. At 1,065, the number of new dwelling unit permits marks the highest figure since 2007. Overall, total permitted values increased by a mere 1.5 percent in 2012 as all other categories showed year-to-year declines. In particular, the lagging new nonresidential construction dropped by 52 percent. Expect those numbers to perk up in the future and homebuilding creates the demand for nonresidential expansion.