A record number of new dwelling units were added to Belgrade last year, but city officials don’t believe the record will stand for long.
In 2019, permits were issued for 429 new residential dwelling units in the city, more than double the 199 issued in 1995, the next highest year on record. The number of permits issued has, for the most part, continued to grow annually since 2014, when the local economy began to recover from a nationwide downturn, said Jason Karp, city planning director.
The number of dwelling units permitted last year grew by almost 71 percent over the 249 permitted in 2018. Karp attributed the sizable increase to multiple factors, including the moratorium on development in nearby areas of the county served by the Rae Water and Sewer District, which is at capacity.
“Four Corners is in the process of adding more (utility) capacity, but we’re getting a lot of interest because we have lots that are developed and buildable,” Karp said.
Another factor was the increase in impact fees charged to developers, which went into effect in mid-2019. Karp said that prompted some builders to apply for permits before the increase occurred.
Single-family homes, apartments, townhouses and condominiums all fall under the dwelling unit umbrella, and Karp said the city is seeing a trend toward more multi-family development than in the past.
“Developers out there are definitely trying to meet the demand (for that type of housing),” Karp said.
Looking forward, he said, “We haven’t slowed down a bit going into 2020. We expect this to be another possibly record-breaking year.”
Beyond 2020, Karp said it is impossible to predict because development actively is tied directly to national and local economic conditions. Building activity plummeted in Belgrade during the last economic downtown, with the city issuing only seven permits for residential dwelling units in 2009, the lowest number in the last 25 years.
The number of new dwelling units has increased annually in Belgrade since 2016.