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Building permits down, value considerably higher

Press Photo by John Odermann Eighty-two single family home permits were issued by the city of Dickinson in 2008 compared to 73 in 2007. Overall the city issued 127 building permits for public, commercial, and residential properties in 2008.

The number of commercial building permits issued in 2008 may have been down compared to 2007, but the value of the commercial property permitted is higher.

Twenty-seven commercial property permits issued in 2008 totaled $17.7 million in value compared to 34 valued at $9.5 million in 2007 according to information provided by the city.

"Commercial structure values are huge compared to last year," Dickinson City Engineer Shawn Soehren said.

Over the course of 2008, the city issued 127 building permits for public, commercial and residential buildings totaling $39.5 million, which is an increase of two units from 2007 when 125 permits were issued valued at $27 million.

Eighty-two single family homes were permitted in 2008, compared to 73 in 2007. And 2008 saw 17 multi-family homes permitted, compared to 18 in 2007.

No public structures were constructed in 2007, but a salt-storage facility, which will be utilized by the city, was built in 2008.

Soehren said looking at the numbers things look steady compared to years past.

Tom Kuntz with Kuntz Builders in Dickinson, which build 12 to 14 houses a year, said things were steady in 2008 and it looks to be the same in 2009.

"The plans that we're working on and what's coming up this next year looks pretty similar to what we did last year," Kuntz said.

Soehren said he thinks the increase in single-family housing is evidence of new people moving into Dickinson.

I think it is people who have been moving into town and picking up the existing houses as others move into new homes, Soehren said. "I think most of the time people are selling the old and buying the new."

The number of houses on the market may be evidence of that.

Neal Messer with Continental Real Estate said the number of single-family homes on the market at this time, compared to last year, is down.

On Jan. 1, 2008, 111 single-family homes were on the market and on Jan. 1, 2009, 90 single-family homes were on the market, Messer said, adding the housing market has been steady as well.

Permitting did slow down towards the end of 2008, but Soehren said it wasn't anything to be concerned with because there is typically a slow down towards the end of the year as the weather cools down.

Looking at 2009, Soehren said the city may see an increase in commercial permits to make up for the loss it experienced the previous year.

Soehren said there is also the possibility of some more housing developments breaking ground as several pieces of land were purchased from the city this past year.

But with an economic downturn nationwide, Soehren said things look good now, but 2009 will really be the barometer.

"I think the next year could be a tell for us, if the economy is starting to catch us, but we haven't seen that at this point," Soehren said.