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Dave Olson, Published October 23 2013

Value of construction permits issued in F-M area sets record

FARGO – Building permit numbers in the Fargo-Moorhead area are breaking records and showing the strongest activity in the region since the mid-2000s.

Total construction value was more than $523 million through the first nine months of the year, the highest figure for that time period on record, according to the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead.

The association said this year’s number surpassed the previous record of nearly $434 million set in the first nine months of 2012. Prior to last year, the previous high point was set in 2006, when building permits totaled about $428 million.

“Our members continue to enjoy a wonderful work season here in the valley,” said Darrick Guthmiller, the association’s president. “Although there was a late winter and wet spring, we are still building houses at an amazing rate.”

For the Fargo-Moorhead area as a whole, single-family construction permits stood at 770 during the first nine months of this year, surpassing the previous high of 745 permits recorded in the first nine months of 2004.

Residential construction as a whole – including single-family, twinhome and row houses – is the strongest since 2005, the association reported. It reported there have been 982 housing starts in the area through September, up from 732 in 2012, a 34 percent jump.

The association report showed that the total number of apartment unit starts in the area during the first nine months of this year was 1,332, compared to 586 apartment units last year.

A total of 96 commercial building permits were issued during the first three quarters of 2013. That compares to 82 during the same period last year and 44 during the same period in 2011.

The association also reported:

E There were 43 more total housing starts in Moorhead through the first nine months of this year over the same period last year, including a 24 percent jump in single-family homes.

E Housing starts in Fargo were up nearly 40 percent during the first three quarters of 2013 compared to last year.

E Compared to the first three quarters of 2012, Dilworth saw total housing starts more than double, from 12 to 25.

E In West Fargo, total housing starts were up 20 percent in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to 2012, with multifamily construction nearly doubling.

Guthmiller said despite the growth, the metro area continues to face challenges, including flood insurance mandates and the wait for permanent flood protection.

“Our industry is working hard to keep up with demand and to find the workforce necessary – these are positive challenges as it means we are busy putting people to work and creating jobs,” he added.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555