Lawrence home building hits 23-year low

Builders secured permits last month for nearly $6.5 million of work in Lawrence, the lowest total for the month since 1996, according to a report from city officials.

The report, from the Department of Neighborhood Resources, also confirms that the market for new-home construction continues to struggle. Builders took out permits for 10 homes last month, the lowest monthly total for June in 23 years.

The monthly total follows a trend that has been building all year. Through June, builders had taken out permits for 82 new homes in town, the lowest total for the first six months of a year since 1982.

Home builders have complained for months about a relative lack of available lots for new homes. They also have struggled to sell the homes built during the past year; many remain on the market for more than $300,000, a price point with more product than demand, according to Realtors.

Builders in June managed to secure permits for homes at the lower end of the price scale. The average valuation for permits in June was just more than $130,000; while permit valuations do not account for the price of land, many of the homes will be poised to sell for somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, in what has become the entry-level range for homes in Lawrence.

Among the commercial projects issued building permits in June:

¢ A $983,250 addition to Cottonwood Inc., 2801 W. 31st St. The contractor is B.A. Green Construction Inc.

¢ A new convenience store and gasoline station at 1000 E. 23rd St., the former site of an Ampride Station. The $779,000 job is being handled by Harris Construction Co. Inc.

¢ A $350,000 remodeling job at 740 N.H., in the south building of the new Hobbs Taylor Lofts. First Management Inc. is contractor.

¢ A $250,000 remodeling job at 832 Pa., which is being converted into offices for Fairchild & Buck, a Topeka-based law firm. Harris Construction is the contractor.