Like many areas across the United States, Greene County, IL reported a disappointing number of new homes being built in 2014. However, county officials say that new home builders likely have a reason to celebrate: the region expects significantly more residential planning and construction in 2015.
Before the recession, Greene County issued an average of 1,250 residential building permits per year. However, that number fell sharply once the economy began to falter, dropping to 374 permits in 2013 and 343 in 2014. But while 2015 has only just begun, the Greene County planning director has already stated that there are already more plans in the works than there have been in the past five years. Additionally, many of the developers the agency has seen are seeking approval for subdivisions, creating the possibility of several years of growth.
According to the planning director, the sudden increase is likely due to the improving economy and a shortage of existing lots. Whatever the cause, the area will surely benefit from this new activity. The planning department brought in only $98,000 in revenue in 2014, about $40,000 below its expectations. In contrast, the organization is already projecting earnings of $130,000 over the course of the coming year.
Despite these positive signs, however, developers will have to face some challenges to bring their projects to fruition: building requirements set by county codes and city utilities have changed since the last busy building period, which occurred before the recession. This could lengthen the approval process and even send some builders back to the drawing board. Fortunately, many developers seem to have done some preliminary design and engineering planning, which could help improve project speed.
Currently, the planning department has approved a number of development plans, including several that were designed and abandoned during the recession. Some of the earliest projects could reportedly break ground as early as April.