Building permits issued in the Tri-Cities region dropped by almost 20 percent in the first six months of 2011 compared to the same period one year earlier, according to a recent report on residential building permits from Knoxville-based firm The Market Edge.
Regionally, 426 building permits were issued in the first and second quarters of 2011, an area that includes Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Sullivan and Washington counties in Tennessee, and Scott and Washington in Virginia. In 2010, that six-month total was 530, which represents a 19.6 percent drop in 2011, the report showed.
That trend was echoed throughout The Market Edge’s reporting area, which covers Chattanooga, Knoxville and parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky markets.
“For most of our market, the total number of residential building permits issued during the first six months of 2011 are below the total number of permits issued during the same period in 2010,” said Dale Akins, president of The Market Edge.
Individually, permits issuances fell in every area county this quarter but Greene County and Washington County, Va. There, permits rose 47 percent and 83 percent, respectively, from 2010’s second quarter to the most recent quarter; a rise in construction activity in those counties was most likely brought on as residents recover and rebuild from April’s deadly and damaging storms and tornadoes.
Elsewhere, permit figures looked bleak in annual numbers: Washington County, Tenn., permits dropped 37 percent from the 2010’s second quarter to 2011’s; Carter County, 47 percent; Hawkins County, 82 percent; Sullivan County, 20 percent; and Scott County, Va., 30 percent.
Still, Akins found some good news in his latest building permit trend report.
“The number of permits issued during Q1-2011 increased from Q4-2010, and the number of permits issued during Q2-2011 increased from Q1-2011,” he said. “We’re seeing signs of life in an otherwise bleak housing market.”
But not all of the region’s counties have followed Akins’ trend, and all are slightly erratic in their permit behavior.
Washington County, Tenn., saw an increase from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, but had a slight drop in this most recent quarter; Carter County experienced the same trajectory. Hawkins County also had a drop in permits this quarter, while Sullivan County had a large drop from the fourth quarter of 2010 to this year’s first quarter. Only Washington County, Va., has seen an increase each quarter in permits since the last quarter of 2010.