Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Home building off to slow start in new year

By Ken Hedler
Feb. 2, 2018 at 12:12 a.m.

Home building is off to a slow start this year in Longview, with the city issuing just four permits for home construction in January.

That was down 71.4 percent from 14 permits issued by the Development Services Department a year ago but up from three permits in December.

The average construction value of the permits increased 20 percent, however, to $221,250 from $184,286 in January 2017, perhaps skewed because of this January's relatively small number of permits.

One builder who applied for a permit in January, Ryan Pierce of Longview Alpha Construction Co. LLC, speculated a new statewide energy code and slow recovery in the oil and gas industry put a damper on permits being issued last month.

"We had to add almost $10,000 more (to the price of a home) just to meet the requirements of the energy code," he said.

Pierce applied in January to build a 12-room house at 1105 Insignia Way with a permit valued at $205,750.

A home builder since 2001, Pierce said he used to build from 40 to 50 homes a year.

"Now we are building about 20, just in the last year," he said. "You can only do what the market will bear."

He said he thinks the city will issue the permit in the next week, adding home construction would take about four months.

The city issued a permit valued at $100,000 to Jose Medaro Menijar for a nine-room house at 1030 S. Green St. in which fees are waived because it falls under the South Longview Incentive Program.

The other permits last month were for MKO Custom Builders LLC for a 14-room house at 1103 Masters Way valued at $300,000, an 11-room house sought by Charles Thomson at 2114 Katie Lee Lane with a value of $260,000 and a 14-room house by Yowell Builders Inc. at 3411 Celebration Way valued at $225,000.

Thomson, an engineer, said he is building the house because he is downsizing to a smaller home and not putting it on the market.

As with all building permit values, the listed value is the construction cost and does not take into account other factors that go into the sale price of a home, including land, the builder's profit and Realtor's commission.



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