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A cause for cautious optimism in home building (access required)

By Sam Boykin Ask a Charlotte home builder or contractor about the state of the market, and you’ll probably hear the words “cautiously optimistic.” It’s a generic catchphrase that doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it’s a lot better than the words they were using this time last year — most of which we can’t print anyway. And there does seem to be cause for some optimism. According to Jim Bartl, director of code enforcement for Mecklenburg County, the number of building permits issued for single-family detached homes is starting to creep back up. Bartl said 773 permits were issued from January 1 to April 30 this year, compared to 443 during the corresponding time period in 2009. For the fiscal year to date (from July 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010) 1,844 permits were issued, while the corresponding period in the previous  fiscal year saw 1,479 permits issued. Bartl said he expects a 25 percent increase in permits issued by the end of the year compared to 2009, but that the numbers are still substantially lower compared to when real estate was booming a few years ago, such as in 2007, when nearly 8,700 permits were issued.

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