Spokane Regional Business Barometer – Q3, 2014
Permit numbers for the entire county were up slightly, but valuations were less than half of what they were in third quarter 2013.
Shaun O’L. Higgins, Managing Principal of The Oxalis Group LLC says, “The average value of a permit issued in third quarter was $44,205, compared to $93,564 for the same period in 2013. About one in six permits was issued for remodels, rather than new construction. This is not an unusual ratio, but an indication, perhaps, that both new-construction permits and remodels may be of lesser scope than those of the year before.”
To break it down by specific areas, the number of permits in third quarter 2014 rose 15% in the city of Spokane while valuations fell 51%, the number of permits decreased 24% in unincorporated Spokane County while valuations dropped 56%, and in the Spokane Valley there was a 39% increase in the number of permits but a whopping 65% drop in valuations.
Large projects, such as the Davenport Grand Hotel, heavily influenced valuations in prior quarters for the City of Spokane and the entire county, so the drop in valuations is not a surprise, says Steve Scranton, Chief Investment Officer for Washington Trust Bank. “Recently we have had more, smaller projects, which is not necessarily bad. It could be that nearly as many people are being employed as in larger projects and it is more sustainable. Again, it’s slow and steady progress.”
“We are still seeing strong permitting for apartments, and some of them are pretty large projects,” says Avista Chief Economist Grant Forsyth.