Housing construction continued to propel the local building industry in October and boosted the total valuation of building permits issued during the month to $6,393,080.
October's permit valuation total marked an increase over October 1990, when the total was $4,069,918. A permit's valuation is the estimated cost of construction exclusive of any real estate costs.
Permits for 38 new single-family homes accounted for $4,126,533 of last month's total.
"It looks like single-family carried the load," Gene Shaughnessy, the city's chief building inspector, said today.
New multifamily construction eight duplexes and a four-unit apartment building contributed another $1,068,972 to the October total.
FOR THE FIRST 10 months of the year, the city building inspector's office has authorized construction of 296 new single-family homes, compared with 233 during the comparable period in 1990.
The city also added 290 multifamily housing units during this year's January-to-October period, compared with 262 last year.
Shaughnessy said he was at a loss to explain why the supply and, apparently, the demand for new housing in Lawrence is still strong, given the amount of construction in recent years against more moderate population gains.
He also said that the recession had not put much of a damper on local construction this year.
"You cannot judge Lawrence, Kansas, by national statistics," he said. "It seems like when everybody else is down and having problems economywise and in construction, we're kind of an oasis."
SHAUGHNESSY did note, however, that although his office wrote permits for 39 new single-family homes in September one more than in October, single-family construction accounted for just $3,688,300 of the September total, $438,233 less than the valuation generated by October's permits for new homes.
The difference, Shaughnessy said, was that the average valuation for a home authorized in October was $108,593, compared with $94,572 a month earlier.
"Probably why that valuation is so high is the area they're building in," Shaughnessy said, noting that more of October's single-family construction appeared to be concentrated in upscale subdivisions on the west side of Lawrence.
THE OCTOBER valuation total also got a $503,000 boost from three commercial projects: Gibralter Mausoleum, 1517 E. 15th, the new Kansas Department of Health and Environment building, 800 W. 24th; and an office building at 5030 W. 15th.
The new multifamily construction authorized during the month comprised the following projects: two duplexes in the 3800 block of Elizabeth Court; four duplexes in the 3900 and 4000 blocks of Overland Drive; one each in the 800 block of Michigan Street and the 1500 block of Crossgate Drive; and a fourplex in the 200 block of Glenview Drive.