Houston & Peach

This Houston County city is experiencing record numbers in new housing

The home building business is booming in Perry with the city trending toward a second consecutive record breaking year.

Perry isn’t the only community in Houston County where single-family home construction has bounced back after the economic recession. But the city has experienced the largest surge of residential growth in the county with 246 building permits issued through August. Last year, there were 351 new homes built in the city, besting the mark of 325 of in 2006.

This year is trending to become another banner year, Chief Building Official Tracy Hester said.

Hester said he believes Perry is an attraction to families because of the job opportunities available in Middle Georgia and the city’s ability to still maintain its small town charm. But there maybe other reasons the housing market remains strong.

“I don’t know if there is a single answer,” Hester said. “If I had to pick it’s maybe the fact that interest rates are very low, and there’s a lot of 100-percent financing out there. I think people are qualifying a little easier than in the past during harder times.”

Throughout the rest of Houston County the numbers of new homes has been steady over the last handful of years.

In unincorporated Houston County, there have been 1,479 single family homes built since 2012, an average of 224 yearly. From 2008-2010 there was an average of 154 single family homes built each year, according to figures provided by Houston County. Through July of this year there has been 171 building permits issued for residences in the county.

In Warner Robins another 317 housing permits were issued in 2017, while 40 were issued in the city of Centerville.

Those new homes mean more valuation added to the tax digest, which in turn means more tax revenue to local governments.

The numbers are still much lower than the early 2000’s when at least 400 single family homes were built in unincorporated Houston.

“Starting around 2012 it appeared permits actually started to gain a little momentum,” said Tim Andrews, the county’s planning and zoning administrator. “It feels like there is a stabilization where you don’t have a spike but good consistent numbers from 2012 on up to this calender year. That’s good sound growth.”

But keeping up with the pace sometimes is a struggle for builders to find enough construction workers to support the number of job openings. It’s a problem nationwide with construction companies seeking to fill 225,000 vacant positions each month through the first quarter of the year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Judith Ross, owner of J. Ross Homes Inc. construction company, said it’s become harder to find enough subcontractors to keep up with the high demand in Houston County.

“It’s hard work and hot and people don’t want to get out in the sun and do that anymore,” she said.