by Lisa Tome
Cecil County has hit a new low.
Permits for new single family home construction fell to below 100 for the first time in decades.
For the time span between July 1, 2014 and June 30 of this year, 98 permits for single family homes were issued. "That's the fewest I can remember," said Patrick Conway, the county's Director of Permits and Inspections, who has worked in the department for nearly 30 years.
"That's the key, it's the lowest number in 26 years. But in comparison, home improvements are skyrocketing. People are staying where they are and fixing up," said Conway.
Single family home construction numbers for the last five years have varied from year to year. In fiscal year 2014, 132 permits were issued for single family homes. In fiscal year 2013, 188 permits were issued for single family.
In 2012, that number was 160. In fiscal year 2011, that number was 198. In 2010, 220 single family permits were issued.
Fiscal year 2015 permit statistics:
Single family dwelling - 98
Manufactured home - 46
Multi-family dwelling - 58
Residential additions - 521
Residential garages - 72
Pole barns/sheds - 192
Commercial/industrial buildings - 14
Commercial/Industrial additions - 53
Pools, docks, and piers - 99
Miscellaneous - 186
Building permits by municipality - (Elkton and Rising Sun handle their own permits)
Cecilton - 22 building permits
Charlestown - 25 building permits
Chesapeake City - 14 building permits
North East - 58 building permits
Perryville - 48 building permits
Port Deposit - 11 building permits
Beginning, August 18, there will be another mandate added to single family home construction. Residential construction will require that fire suppression systems be installed in these homes. Cecil County adopted their code early three years ago to delay the sprinkler mandate. For permits and all that it mandated, the estimate is that the cost before a shovel goes in to the ground for a new home, is $35,000. "It is extraordinarily costly to build a new home," said Conway.
He said that Maryland has the fourth highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Delaware is in the top 10. "We need to create jobs to get people to stay here," added Conway.