March 23, 2010 in Business

Construction news mixed

Spokane numbers are improving, but still down
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane County’s construction industry as a whole is still in a slump, but residential starts are up 22 percent this year compared to the same period last year, according to an industry monitor.

For the first two months of the year, the value of residential construction permits in Spokane jumped to $16.9 million, according to the McGraw-Hill Dodge Report. A year earlier the total was $13.8 million.

Overall, the value of building permits in Spokane is down 30 percent from the same period a year ago. For the first two months of 2010, the total value was $29.9 million; for the like period in 2009 it was $42.8 million.

Kootenai County’s numbers trend the other way; total construction for the first two months is 49 percent ahead of 2009, according to the Dodge Report. The 2010 total has soared to $21.1 million compared with $14.2 in January and February 2009.

But residential new construction in North Idaho, which includes apartments as well as homes, dropped 4 percent, to $11.8 million over the same period last year.

Avista Corp. economist Randy Barcus said the numbers show construction is perking up from the dismal level of one year ago.

Barcus said Spokane’s residential permitting this year includes 86 apartment units, in January. In January 2009, the county had no apartment permits issued, Barcus said.

Spokane this year had 71 permits for single-family or duplex units, compared with 35 last year, Barcus said.

Barcus said his data comes from the Construction Monitor, an independent company.

Overall, the Dodge Report says total U.S. construction is down 20 percent.

Residential construction nationwide is down 21 percent, the Dodge Report said.


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