Home construction numbers improving

Staff Writer
Ken Francis
It’s been said that real estate is a good indicator of how the economy is going.
If that’s the case, then the economy in Sherburne County is on its way back.
The year-end report from the Sherburne County Planning and Zoning Dept. shows new home construction continued to climb again in 2013.
The report shows there were 231 total permits issued for new home construction throughout the county last year, 113 in  townships and 118 in cities, plus 38 apartment units.
That number is up significantly from 2012, when there were a total of 140 new home permits.
Elk River had the largest number of new home permits in 2013 with 82.
The City of Big Lake had 21 single-family home permits and permits for another 38 units of multi-family housing.
Becker led all the townships with 34 single-family permits, with homes valued at $7,880,894.
Big Lake Twp. had 31 new homes with a total value of $7,116,000.
Livonia Twp. was next with 23 new homes, followed by the City of Becker (11), Baldwin. Twp. (6), Palmer Twp. (5), Orrock Twp. (5), Zimmerman (4), Blue Hill Twp. (3), Clear Lake Twp. (3), Santiago Twp. (2) and Haven Twp. (1).
There were no new home permits issued in the City of Clear Lake, or in the Sherburne County sections of Princeton and East. St. Cloud.
The 231 permits for new homes (plus 38 apartments) in 2013 is the second straight year of increases.
Back in 2008, the county was on the downswing after many years of unprecedented home building. That year, permits totalled just 109, compared with over 400 each year from 1996 through 2005 in the townships alone.
In 2009 the county had 87 permits for new homes, then sank to 85 in 2010 and 73 in 2011 (not including apartments.)
The economy began to show signs of improvement in 2012 as the number of foreclosures on the market shrank. That year, the average valuation of new homes also jumped, from $168,833 to $235,705.
Valuations were a bit lower in 2013 at $220,831.
The report also estimates the population increased slightly with the new home construction. Based on a rate of 2.50 people per residence, the county’s population increased from 89,161 to 89,834.


BIG LAKE COBORN’S STAFF have been raising funds for the Big Lake Fire Dept. through brat sales and the sale of buttons. Last week Coborns’s staff posed for a picture by the grill. Front row are Vicki Sabre and Kitty Underwood. Back row is Ashley Pelkey, Amy Fiester, Manager Mitch Utecht, Melissa Schafer, Michelle Galvin, Matt Schacht, Curt Allgood and John Howard. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

MEMBERS OF THE Big Lake American Legion flag corps, at attention during Monday’s Memorial Day services. From left, Dennis Gail, Don McVeigh, Don Deuel and Gary Poslusny. (Photos by Gary W. Meyer)

Larry and Lavina Pattee