In New Lenox the number of new home construction permits issued in 2012 nearly doubled over last year.
A total of 119 permits were issued, said Robin Ellis, village development director. The year previous, they numbered 63. This is a marked improvement since the economic decline started in the fall of 2008. In all of 2010, only 23 home construction permits were issued and 21 the year previous.
Mayor Tim Baldermann announced at a Village Board meeting in October 2012 that New Lenox was ranked No. 2 in Will County for the number of new housing starts for the second quarter.
A Chicago Metrostudy released figures for the region show that confidence is growing in the housing industry. Only the City of Naperville, the portion that is located within the boundaries of Will County, was ahead by 20 housing starts, said Baldermann.
In the fall, Ellis told the Village Board that they were up to 85 housing starts for the year in the village. Since January 2012, 92 homes were constructed or at least started. And there is still time in the building season to break ground, she added.
The majority of the homes were built by the Hartz Construction Co., which has an office in New Lenox but is headquartered in Woodridge. The bulk of the new homes were constructed in development in the Sanctuary Point subdivision on Marley Road, north of Route 30, and in the Heather Glen subdivision off of Laraway Road at Schoolhouse Road. A handful of homes went in at the Water Chase subdivision on the south side of Laraway Road just east of Cedar Road, according to Ellis.
Citing the number of new housing permits, she said, "I think it's indicative of some of the chances the Board has made to encourage construction."
The impact fees for the typical four-bedroom home, the most common housing design in the Village, were cut in half. They went from $16,000 to $8,000. That helps construction companies keep the price of homes down, she added.
At the same time, home construction companies have turned what were once standard amenities into options, which also makes new construction more affordable.
Leigh Nevers, director of sales for Hartz Construction Co., was not surprised to hear the news about New Lenox's numbers. The company has multiple developments in the community, she said, lauding the Village's cooperation in reducing impact fees. It encourages further development.
"We certainly have the ability to upgrade homes to the customer's liking," but mostly Hartz hasn't deviated much from the standard design. The cost-cutting comes in buying bulk for hardwood flooring, counter tops and the like.
"We've looked at the market place," and people in this area still want what's popular. The company achieves that by seeking bids for building materials, and "handing the savings" onto the customer.
The average price for a Hartz-built home in New Lenox ranges from $230,000-$240,000, Nevers said. The site of the parcel and the location of the subdivision make a difference. If a subdivision has a pond, or it's near parks and playgrounds, then the price would reflect that.
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