A combined 140 permits were filed with the two governments in 2012, a 160 percent increase from the combined 54 permits in 2011, according to reports filed with the two governmental entities.
Douglas County Chief Building Official Mark Teal said the totals for the county were the highest since 2009. He said he is unsure if the uptick in permits is the beginning of a trend toward the levels seen before the start of the economic downturn in 2007.
“This definitely could be a start,” he said.
The reports from the two building permit departments showed:
• Single-family permits outside the cities almost doubled in 2012 when compared to 2011, according to the Douglas County Building Permits and Inspections Department.
The county recorded 84 permits for single-family residential construction valued at $8.4 million in 2012, compared to 43 permits valued at $3.5 million the previous year.
Average cost of construction also significantly increased — from $82,067 in 2011 to $99,953 in 2012.
Much of the construction was concentrated in the Hampton Mills subdivision off Dorsett Shoals Road and Lakes at Stewart Mill subdivision off Stewart Mill Road.
• Douglasville’s Development Services Department recorded 56 permits with total valuation of $16.68 million for new single-family residential construction in 2012. The 2011 total was 11 permits with total valuation of $3.5 million.
Most of the permits were for new construction in the Slater Mill subdivision off Fairburn Road near I-20, according to a survey of the permits.
However, the average cost of construction dropped from $319,000 in 2011 to $298,000 in 2012 inside the city.
Chris Collier, executive officer for the Westside Home Builders Association, admitted new home construction has begun to increase but remained far below numbers seen in 2005 before the collapse of the housing industry.
About 2,600 permits were filed for single-family homes in 2005, he noted.
“Both [city and county] numbers are pathetically low,” Collier said.
He also said builders typically are buying lots in existing subdivisions which were developed and left without houses after the economic downturn in 2007.
Collier estimated about 6,000 lots currently exist in developed Douglas County subdivisions on which banks foreclosed.
Teal noted no developer has turned in plans for a new subdivision to the county department for four years.
“We still have a lot of subdivisions that are platted but no houses built on them,” he said.