Record Setting Building Construction Reflects Growing Population - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/25/05

Record Setting Building Construction Reflects Growing Population

It's been a record-setting year for Lubbock in the construction of new houses and apartments. But does the city have enough growth to fill new homes or is the population just shifting to new areas?

In recent years subdivisions and housing developments were not a common sight. But now, housing developments surround Lubbock. Another question to ask: where does that leave the already developed areas of the city?

Construction has become very popular around Lubbock. Crews put up over 1,200 houses in fiscal year 2003-2004, many of them in popular housing developments. Lubbock Inspections Director, Steve O'Neill said, "Well, I just say job security!"

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While houses go up, someone else has a promising future. Westmark Real Estate Agent, Charlie Kearney says people living inside the city are moving to the newer houses, which means more houses are selling inside Lubbock. "We don't know where all the money is coming from or all the people are coming from, but it's a growth substantially," said Kearney.

Kearney also said surpassing the 200,000 population mark allows builders and realtors to keep on. "It was like we opened up a valve, if we weren't growing, we would've never gotten to that, so that 200,000 sort of is a golden mark," said Kearney.

O'Neill said, "There seems to be a consensus with the professionals I've talked to that we're getting close to saturation in the multi-family apartments, we've not really shown that."

Overton Park has been a hot area for new apartments. The building department issued 112 permits this year for apartments, compared to 48 last year.

Construction provides more than housing. Many businesses, such as plumbers and lumber companies, thrive off of construction as well, and that leads to more jobs. So as long as the building market does well, in theory, it speaks well for our community, and O'Neill's job security.

"Locally, when we see that key industry doing well, it can only mean everyone else is doing well also," said O'Neill total building revenue for the entire fiscal year increased more than 12%, and we don't show immediate signs of slowing down.

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