There is good news for the Lubbock economy. The year 2002 proved to be a record year for residential construction in Lubbock. The numbers have been on the rise the last few years, but in 2002 Lubbock issued more than 1,200 building permits, for single family homes, an all time high.
In the last census, Lubbock's population passed the 200,000 mark. The growth in population has been slow, but the housing boom has been explosive. So what's bringing more people to Lubbock, and just what does this growth mean to Lubbock's economy?
The number of building permits issued has been on the rise the last few years, but what that means exactly, is still unclear. "For the economy anytime construction is going as well as it is that tells you that your economy is doing well, that your markets are doing well, and that your tax base is doing well. I look for that to continue, there's been no slow down in the residential growth over the last few months and certainly the biggest time is spring time," Mayor Marc McDougal said.
Builders and real estate agents across town aren't complaining either. "We start a home and people are out looking and we can't get them completed, people just call and want a price and their buying and that's just great. I've never seen that before," Jack Hext, with Happy Houses Construction.
Jack Hext says has been in the real estate business for more than 30 years, he says his business increased 20% to 30% in the last year, and the majority of his work is happening in Southwest Lubbock. "I think it's a combination of a lot of things. I think Texas Tech growth, I've heard South Plains College enrollment surpassed 10,000, and I've also heard that when a city reaches the 200,000 mark that many times theres a growth spurt, so maybe a combination of all those," Hext said.
Darrell Kitten, a resident in the area says the growth in his neighborhood has been phenomenal, as for why, he has a couple of ideas. "I think a lot of people I know are taking advantage of low interest rates and kind of up sizing while they think they can afford them and as far as this side of town it seems like for the last 15 to 20 years everything's grown south to southwest," Darrell Kitten, a resident said.
Lubbock's growth proves once again to be slow but steady. Mayor Marc McDougal says they will better break down the numbers of growth, Thursday at the State of the City address.