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The resurgence in housing numbers has penetrated all of Hardin County.
Unincorporated areas saw residential construction return to pre-recession levels in 2010, while Vine Grove’s single-family housing surged.
The county in particular witnessed significant gains in construction, shooting up from $35.5 million in total construction in 2009 to $53.4 million last year.
In all, the county issued 643 building permits in 2010, compared to the 514 issued in 2009, and 271 of those permits were for single-family housing, said Hardin County Planning Director Chris Hunsinger. Total construction for single-family finished in 2010 at $45.6 million, a giant swing compared to the $23.9 million in 2009, Hunsinger said.
The totals return construction levels to the height they reached in 2007, but Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry advised looking at 2005 as the last year building was better, when the county recorded more than $71.5 million in construction.
In besting figures of 2007, when construction came in at $46.9 million, the county not only has rebounded beyond last year’s totals, but surpassed the years leading up to the financial downturn, Berry said. Coupled with the building success, Berry pointed to the Metropolitan Statistical Area being listed in the top five in the nation for job growth and the county’s ability to hold unemployment numbers consistently below the state average as solid indicators of success. In some respects, Berry surmised, the county may have more sustained growth because of the hurdles.
Evaluating the numbers, Berry also was encouraged by the effects the Fort Knox Base Realignment and Closure is having on the community as legions of new residents are moving to the area, increasing the payroll not only at Fort Knox but in the county as a whole.
When that happens, Berry continued, people will build new homes and help in the recovery process.
“We’re excited about it,” he said.
Hunsinger said large homes were especially popular last year, as the average house size was 2,057 square feet, up 142 square feet from 2009’s average. The average construction cost also increased from $141,604 to $168,119.
“Not only did we have an increase in homes, the homes actually increased in size,” Hunsinger said.
The county also issued 59 permits for houses more than 2,500 square feet, up sizably from 2009’s total of 25. The permit for the largest house ever issued by the county came in 2010, too, for a mammoth 8,726-square-foot structure, which was estimated to cost $1.2 million to build, Hunsinger said.
“We’re fortunate to have Fort Knox,” Hunsinger said.
Other residential projects — garages, accessory structures, house additions and remodeling projects — saw little increase this year, Hunsinger added.
The county also had no permits for duplexes and apartments for the second straight year and commercial construction fell, tumbling from $6.1 million in total construction in 2009 to $931,700 in 2010. The number of permits decreased from 39 to 22 as well, Hunsinger said.
Two of the larger commercial projects undertaken in the unincorporated area last year were the construction of a new church at an estimated $250,000 and a grocery store at $200,000, he added.
Vine Grove, meanwhile, saw sharp gains as the number of single-family permits spiked from 65 to 117, with total construction increasing from $7.5 million in 2009 to $15.3 million in 2010, according to figures provided by Assistant City Clerk Jackie Johnson.
This increase came largely on the back of new single-family housing, with $14 million in single-family construction recorded last year — doubling up on the $7 million recorded in 2009.
Commercial building faltered considerably in 2010, though, as the city only recorded $18,000 in commercial growth on one building this year. Five commercial permits were issued in 2009 for a total of $343,321 in construction expenses, according to the reports.
Manufactured home construction fell from $147,900 to $60,000 in 2009, but the city issued two permits for duplexes at $124,000 in 2010, compared to none the prior year.
The city issued 10 townhome permits last year, gaining $990,000 in additional construction.
The numbers are the latest round of positive news in a climate welcome to new growth after housing was temporarily besieged in late 2008 and 2009 during the recession. Elizabethtown more than doubled its construction output in 2010, generating $50 million in new construction. Radcliff, meanwhile, saw a significant $15 million bump mostly because of residential and multi-family housing.
“I think everyone saw a rebound,” Hunsinger said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.