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Douglas residential permits drop to zero

by Scott Neuffer
Nevada Appeal News Bureau

Residential growth in Douglas County has literally ceased.

Not one residential building permit was issued in November, and so far December is following suit, according to Douglas County Building Official David Lundergreen.

Permits were issued for residential additions and remodels, but no permit was issued to build a new house or multifamily unit.

Lundergreen said records dating back to 1990 show no other month when residential building permits dropped to zero.

“I never expected it to go this low,” he said.

In 2007, just one single-family building permit was issued in November, but five were issued in December. Last October saw 23 single-family building permits and 49 multifamily building permits, compared to this October’s two single-family and 10 multifamily.

Annual totals paint a bleak picture of the downward trend.

In 2002, single-family residential construction in Douglas County peaked with 672 building permits. By the end of 2006, that number had dropped to 418. In 2007, it fell to 145.

This year, 46 single-family building permits have been issued.

“We might make 50 by the end of the year,” Lundergreen said.

Multifamily permits have been more erratic: Zero issued in 2006, 77 in 2007, and 20 so far in 2008.

Lundergreen said the average fee for a residential building permit is about $5,000.