Fort Smith building permits dip

by The City Wire staff ( 12 views 

Fort Smith issued 329 permits in April that were valued at $11.56 million, down 41.2% from the $19.68 million in building permit values in April 2008.

The decline is partially attributed to a return to normal in terms of residential and commercial repair permits. A severe hail storm in April 2008 resulted in 542 residential repair permits valued at $2.35 million issued in that month. In April 2009, the city issued 186 repair permits valued $1.56 million.

Dave Hughes, executive director of the Greater Fort Smith Association of Home Builders, said he sees a rebound in the local housing sector, with the recently concluded 2009 Spring Parade of Homes generating “excellent traffic patterns with people who were seriously looking to buy.” Hughes said the $8,000 first-time homebuyers tax credit and record low mortgage rates are stoking demand for homes.

“The Parade of Homes indicated a definite rebound in the local housing economy that I hope will continue through the summer,” Hughes told The City Wire.

Possible proof of the Hughes hoped for rebound may be in Greenwood permits issued in April. Greenwood issued 11 permits valued at $1.936 million, including 7 new home permits valued at $1.41 million. The city also issued a permit valued at $456,000 for a new Geno’s Pizza to be built near the McDonald’s on Arkansas 10.

Van Buren in April issued 45 permits valued at $1.5 million. Of that, 26 were for residential work valued at $472,000.