The increase in new home permits issued in Riverhead Town is once again on trend with national statistics.
Town building department statistics for 2015 reveal the number of new residences, including manufactured and mobile homes, increased by 14 percent, from 77 to 88.
Nationally, according to building permit statistics issued by the U.S. Census, the increase in new home starts, widely considered a major economic indicator, went up 12 percent in 2015.
But while 14 percent in Riverhead Town sounds good, it only represents an increase of 11 homes.
“I don’t know that that’s statistically significant,” Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said. “I think the economy has gotten slightly better in Riverhead and Long Island. But I think, statistically speaking, that’s only an increase of 11 homes.”
In 2014, the number of single-family residence permits more than doubled over the previous year. Even so, Mr. Walter said people aren’t spending like they used to.
“I think a lot of people are just paying off debt and saving money,” he said.
Mitch Pally, executive director of the Long Island Builders Institute, had the opposite reaction.
“I think 2015 clearly saw an uptick in new home construction and there was obviously an increase in alteration and renovations of existing homes,” he said. “In most towns, we saw an increase.”
The Riverhead building permit statistics did see alterations to residences increase from 84 in 2014 to 132 in 2015.
The 88 new residential permits issued in 2015 are still modest compared to numbers from the early 2000s, when 381 permits were issued in 2002 and 271 were in 2003.
“We’ll never see those kinds of numbers again,” Mr. Pally said. “We’d have to invent a lot more land in order to do that.”
Credit: Barbaraellen Koch