By Alyssa Schnugg
Building permits in Oxford dropped about 25 percent in 2018 from 2017.
Much of the decline was with residential units, especially apartments and duplexes.
In 2017, the Oxford Building Department issued a total of 392 building permits for single-family houses, townhouses and apartment and duplex complexes.
In 2018, just 169 permits were issued for the same type of developments.
Single-family houses dropped from 94 permits to 76. Apartment complexes dropped from 15 to none in 2018 while duplex permits dropped from 230 to 15 this year.
Townhouses and condominium developments saw an increase, however, in 2018.
In 2017, the city issued 52 building permits for townhouses and issued 78 in 2018.
Chris Carter, the city’s building inspector and soon-to-be Building Official on Jan. 1, 2019, said he assumes the decline in the multi-residential areas is due to simple supply and demand.
“We added 16 buildings with an average of 20-24 units per building last year,” he said. “If you couple that with the numbers for the new duplexes added last year, it would make sense to assume that the current supply has come awfully close to equaling the demand as far as rental housing is concerned.”
The rise in townhouses could be the result of developers seeing a need for a different type of rental property than the apartment or duplex styled-developments, Carter said.
“I think the developers of (townhouses/condos) are targeting a different market,” he said. “With the increase in rental inventory, maybe they are looking to market their product to the nonresident owners who come to enjoy Ole Miss (athletic) games.”
New Businesses Hold Steady
Commercial building permits stayed about the same with just a slight decrease from 2017 to 2018. Overall, there were 69 commercial building permits issued in 2018 and 77 issued in 2017.
There were seven commercial permits issued for restaurants so far in 2018 and four issued in 2017. Mercantile stores dropped from 14 permits in 2017 to seven in 2018.
While there may be less residential building going on, more Oxford homeowners decided to renovate or add-on to their existing homes.
In 2017, there were 73 permits issued for additions, alterations or conversation to existing residential structures while 148 were issued in 2018.