As I was driving to an appointment on the Cape this afternoon, I was struck by the number of houses under construction along the way, and began to wonder if perhaps this is a sign that things might be picking up a bit. I really hope it was because we could do with some more buildings around here. It looked like there were quite a few workers on each building so that was definitely a good sign. I even heard one of them say that they’ve just used their time card, (look at this for more information) to keep control of their hours because they didn’t want to work longer than what was necessary. That’s fair enough; they’re only human after all and this can be a dangerous profession. But there was part of me that hoped that some of them would work overtime so the buildings were done quicker. With that being said, I easily counted no fewer than 8 in less than a 1 mile stretch, so I decided to check it out when I got back to my office.
According to the Gulf County Building Department, there were 232 building permits issued county-wide in all of 2006, for an average of 19.58 per month. Using that average and multiplying it by the 8 months we’ve completed through August, the county should have issued about 155 permits so far this year. Wrong. Year-to-date in 2007 there have only been 56 permits issued which constitutes a whopping 64% drop.
We’ll keep an eye on this as one indicator as to when we might expect to see the real estate pendulum start swinging back the other way.