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Originally published: 2014-01-13 14:00:06
Last modified: 2014-01-13 14:27:12

Building activity in county continues increase

by Allison Haver

Watauga County's annual building activity totals are continuing to increase.

According to Joe Furman, director of Watauga County Planning and Inspections, the annual numbers have improved, but are a little deceptive.

"The last two years, 2012 and 2013, started a positive trend which was influenced by The Cottages," Furman said.

The number of permits issued for single-family, detached homes in 2012 increased 41 percent over 2011 and have continued to climb in 2013.

"This is key and a good indicator for our economy," he said.

Although The Cottages, a large student housing project, influenced the figures, the complex accounted for about 17 of the total 140 permits.

Although the number of alteration permits was higher, with a total of 444, the increase of permits for residential remodeling and additions better reflect the positive trend and are another good indicator for the local economy, according to Furman.

"The numbers indicate that people are holding on to their houses," Furman said.

With an overall total of 979 permits for projects with an estimated cost of $68.5 million in 2013, things are looking up and have improved from last year, when Watauga County tallied 914 permits for projects with an estimated cost of $63.3 million. The figures are still weak in comparison of 2007, when Watauga County offered 1,095 permits for projects totaling $140.9 million.