It’s not a frenzy but home construction continues its upswing in unincorporated Lee County. In June, contractors pulled 56 permits to build single-family houses, with a combined value of $10.5 million. That compares to 45 permits issued in May and 45 issued a year ago, according to the Lee County Department of Community Development. “It is an ongoing trend. We have been seeing a gentle trend upward for the past five quarters, at least in residential,” said Joan LaGuardia, the department’s communications manager. Over the past 15 months, single-family permits have increased by 15 percent, when compared to the previous 15 months, she said.
The permits issued last month were mostly scattered “here and there,” other than eight of them issued for homes in the second phase of the Reserve at Estero, a Toll Brothers development, LaGuardia said. “Most of it appears to be infill development by the larger builders,” she said. Many of the homes being built now were bought during the busy season, when winter visitors abound, LaGuardia said. Now that the economy has calmed, more retirees are feeling more comfortable about investing in a home in Southwest Florida, she said. “They see the prices creeping up,” LaGuardia said.
It’s not just single-family homes that are in greater demand. In June, 29 multifamily homes were permitted in unincorporated Lee, compared to 16 in May and six a year ago. On top of that 25 new commercial permits were issued last month, valued at $4.6 million. That was down from $5.4 million in May, but up from $3.2 million a year ago. “Commercial is a little harder to predict,” LaGuardia said.
“It seems to be just small business activity.” In June, Lee County Community Development issued 2,712 permits of all kinds. In total, the department has issued 16,688 year-to-date.