Homebuilders pulled fewer permits in April in Longview when compared with a year ago, but the average permit value climbed, according to data from the city’s Development Services Department.

The city issued six permits for single-family homes in April, down about 45.5 percent from 11 in April 2018. However, the average permit value increased about 16 percent from $174,943 to $202,914.

The permits ranged in value from $80,000 for an 11-room home at 2418 Lilly St. that JVD General Contractors is building to $400,000 for a 16-room house that MKO Custom Builders LLC is building at 3402 Oak Hill Trail.

Brent Conaway of Conaway & Sons, which pulled permits for homes at 2020 and 2022 Boston Drive, said he did not know why the city issued fewer permits in April than a year ago and why they fluctuate month to month.

However, Conaway said weather could be a factor, adding homebuilding was slow in Longview during the end of 2018, with only three permits issued in December. The city issued the same number in January.

“There might have been a lot of builders sitting on the sidelines,” Conaway said.

Conaway said his target market is first-time homebuyers, with homes selling in the $150,000 to $190,000 range.

Conaway, whose company has been building houses in Longview for 15 years, said he builds on speculation.

By contrast, Chris Hall, president of the East Texas Builders Association, which has about 375 members, said he builds custom homes. He said he is starting four houses, and none within the city limits.

“A custom home is not going to go in a subdivision,” Hall said. “When you do a custom build, you have to find a lot.”

Hall said the drop in permits for Longview does not present a complete picture on the local housing market because a number of homes are being built outside the city limits.

“I have a lot of builders tell me they are booked up,” Hall said. “Some are building seven homes.”

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 house, including land, the builder’s profit and real estate professional’s commission.

Permits for single-family homes issued over past 12 months in Longview

Month Total permits Average value
April 2019 6 $202,914
March 2019 13 $180,836
February 2019 17 $141,345
January 2019 3 $154,062
December 2018 3 $248,859
November 2018 7 $192,109
October 2019 6 $206,935
September 2018 11 $177,619
August 2018 4 $135,000
July 2018 12 $176,008
June 2018 7 $176,281
May 2018 10 $182,779
April 2018 11 $174,943