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Archive for Thursday, February 29, 1996

HOME CONSTRUCTION DROPS

February 29, 1996

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Monthly building permits issued for home construction in Lawrence has reached a two-year low.

Seven permits were issued for single-family home construction in January, compared to 27 at the same time last year, and 31 that were issued in January 1994.

The Lawrence home building boom hit full stride in 1994 when building permits averaged 40 a month. Last year the permits averaged 29 a month.

Bob Santee, of Denning Santee Construction Co. and president of the Lawrence Homebuilders Assn., said the slack in permits represents a correction in the Lawrence housing market. Because new home inventory was high at the start of 1996, area builders are reacting to the slow market demand, Santee said, by slowing production.

"There's obviously not any demand right now. Too bad it's not like the movie, 'If you build it, they will come,'" he said.

Also, Santee said, more Lawrence residents are taking advantage of the so-called "move-up" market, meaning families are leaving their existing house to find a bigger house in the area for a growing family. That means there are more resale homes on the market.

Even though Santee expects new home construction to pick up this spring, he said many people in Lawrence take for granted the steady growth and forget about the occasional lags.

Overall, there were 111 residential and commercial building permits issued last month. That's down 17 from last year at this time.

The valuation of the building permits totaled $4.3 million, compared to $13.7 million recorded in January 1995.

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