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2008: Home Building here hits a 25 year low

Editor's Note: February 2008, we carried a story from the Henderson Gleaner about slow housing starts. 2008 was the last crash of the economy.

Construction activity tumbled in Henderson and Henderson County last year, with home-building falling to the lowest levels in at least 25 years and overall construction dropping by more than half from 2006. The city and county issued permits for only 98 new houses in 2007.

That's the fewest since at least 1982, when the county started requiring building permits for houses constructed outside the city limits. The 2007 total represents a 19-percent decline from 2006, when 121 permits were issued. The 98 housing starts last year were 41 percent below the average of 166 houses that have been built here annually since 1990.

The housing slowdown mirrors nationwide trends. The National Association of Home Builders said last month that housing starts in November dipped to the lowest level since 1991. The city issued permits for 49 new single-family homes last year, down from 78 the previous year. Construction costs in the city averaged $129,617, up about $16,000 from the previous year.

The county issued permits for 49 new houses, compared with 43 in 2006. Construction costs in the county averaged $161,729 last year, down about $5,000 from the previous year. The decline in home-building was also a factor in a sharp decline in overall construction.

The city and county issued permits authorizing $26.2 million of all types of construction, including new houses, home remodeling, commercial and industrial construction, signs and other work. That's down sharply from the more than $56.9 million of construction in 2006, which included the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Lowe's store as well as the permit for Methodist Hospital's new South Tower. Last year's permit total was barely half the annual average of $47.8 million since 1990.

December construction was seasonably slow. The city and county combined issued permits for just $873,341 of construction last month, including five new houses. That compares with $1.1 million of construction and five houses in December 2006

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