Local Economic Indicators Going Up
New Housing Permits Up 18%
In the last six months of 2011, St. Tammany Parish Government watched a rise in permits issued for new housing starts. In a decline since Hurricane Katrina, the number of new housing permits began to move upward in the latter half of 2011 with a 22% increase in new housing permits over the same six month period in 2010.
Parish leaders watched the rise with quiet, but cautious, optimism in the hopes that the trend would continue. The permit data for the first six months of 2012 confirms their optimism; new housing permits are up 18% over the same period in 2011.
“St. Tammany’s economy is improving,” said Parish President Pat Brister. “Sales tax collections are up parish wide by 3.44% over last fiscal year, which is about double the consumer price index for the twelve months ending in May 2012. If we combine this increase with the upward swing in new housing permits, it creates a positive picture for St. Tammany.”
Remodeling permits, which rose by 150% in 2011, are on pace to meet that rise in 2012. “This demonstrates citizen’s commitment to remain in St. Tammany,” said Sidney Fontenot, the parish’s Director of Planning. “People are investing in their own homes.”
Commercial construction permits are down in 2012 but that trend is expected to turn quickly. MECO, a water purification systems manufacturer, recently committed to build a new $11 million facility in the parish. Several other large developments are also in the planning stages.