Janesville72°

Housing permits plateau

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
December 29, 2007
— Residential housing permits issued in Janesville in 2007 were down for the second year in a row, but planning department staff said it appears the city this year held its own despite the housing turndown.

The number of housing permits recorded through November of this year is similar to 2006, which had the second fewest permits issued in a decade.


The two-year dip reflects a national housing downtown, said Duane Cherek, manager of planning services.


“Even though we were down by 18 to 20 percent from 2005 to 2006, we’ve pretty much maintained the same level of permit issuance through 2007,” he said.


That’s despite the soft housing market.


“Janesville has been affected,” Cherek said, but probably not as drastically as other communities in the state or nation.


Through November 2007, the number of permits issued was 210. The number issued in 2006 was 231.


“What’s interesting, we haven’t continued to plummet as other communities likely have,” Cherek said. “We’re kind of holding our ground, so to speak, with residential building permits.


“Given the circumstances in the housing market … there is still interest in constructing single-family homes in Janesville,” he said. “And perhaps that indicates housing is still affordable in Janesville by comparison.”


Cherek said it’s hard to know whether the decline has reached its bottom.


Housing statistics from 2006 recently were released in a memo to council members:


They include:


-- A total of 241 new housing units were built during 2006. This is the lowest number over the last 10 years. The 241 new housing units created in 2006 represented a 21 percent decrease from 2005.


-- Of the 241 new housing units built in 2006, 221 were single-family homes and 20 were two-family dwellings. No multi-family units were built in 2006.


-- The east side continued its trend of capturing the majority of residential growth with 166 permits—72 percent—issued in 2006.


-- The vacant residential lot inventory in 2006 stood at 1,447 lots, up from 1,053 vacant lots in 2005. The 10-year average is 1,328.


-- Of the 1,447 vacant lots, 829—57 percent—were on the east side, 21 percent were on the west side and 22 percent were on the south side.



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