04/10/11 — Building permits up so far in Goldsboro for 2011

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Building permits up so far in Goldsboro for 2011

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on April 10, 2011 1:50 AM

Building permit and inspection totals have increased from their 2010 levels, which Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said could mean the city is shaking off its recession hangover.

Totals through the first three months of this year were well ahead of where they were in 2010. Total inspections were up by a combined 698 for the first three months of 2011 from a year ago.

The dollar amount of permits issued also increased dramatically, although a large percentage of that increase was due to the permits issued for the new Cherry Hospital project. Totals increased from $15,273,463.57 to $122,756,710.86 with the hospital project accounting for $93,083,000 of that sum.

Cianfarra said that while the hospital project skewed the statistics, as Councilman Chuck Allen quickly pointed out during his presentation, building permit totals were up even without including the hospital's permits. The total amount of dollars collected, not counting the hospital was $29,673,710.86, an increase of about $14.4 million.

Cianfarra said the issuance of permits typically conveys the strength of a recovery following a recession, although each permit doesn't necessarily mean new homes are being built.

"We've had economy turndowns in my career several times," he said, noting that the increase of permits typically signals the recovery. "When you hear the news, it will say new home starts are down. Well they are. But people are upgrading their home because the economy doesn't permit them buying a new home."

Cianfarra said renovations serve to keep contractors busy and also present investment opportunities for homeowners.

"(The contractors would) like to be doing those new homes, but right now they're doing a lot of renovations and repairing and remodeling," he said. "We're issuing a lot of residential permits but it's not necessarily for new homes. People are fixing up their homes. When the economy comes back, those homes, which probably needed a little sprucing up, will be up to the modern standard."

Despite the lack of new homes being built, Cianfarra said the upswing in permits from renovations can still be interpreted as a part of the city's recovery.

"That tells me the economy is coming back. They didn't even remodel their homes in 2009," he said, noting that two years ago saw the city suffer through its worst annual totals for building in recent memory. "2010 showed us over the whole year that people were getting more confident. 2011 is showing the same thing is happening and at a quicker pace."