Johnston’s Housing Market Upswing Continues

Higher lumber prices and COVID-19 aren’t have a noticeable impact on the housing market in Johnston County.  September’s new housing numbers are just in. Last month, the Johnston County Inspections Department issued permits for 244 new single family homes. That’s nearly double the number issued in August 2019.

Shane Hudson is the Director of Inspections for Johnston County. “For the month of September we issued a total of 668 permits as compared to 515 in 2019. That is a 30 percent increase over 2019. Also in (September) 2019 we issued 129 new single family dwelling permits compared to 244 in September 2020. That was a 90 percent increase.”

“With the large increase in permits in September we have sold 35 percent more single family home permits from January 1, 2020 to September 30,2020 than the same time frame last year. Probably 60 (to) 70 percent of the permits issued in September are to tract builders across the county,” Mr. Hudson stated.

We ask Johnston County Building Industry Association President Marc Descoteaux what is causing the ‘building boom’ in Johnston County.  “I wouldn’t say it was a “building boom” in Johnston County.  Johnston County is a favorable place to live, we are close to everything, and housing prices are still very affordable for all levels of homebuyers.”

Mr. Descoteaux said now is a good time to buy or sell a home. ”Now is a great time for both sellers and buyers. Interest rates are hovering around 3%, and since more people are working from home, there is more time to pack and move.  With the increase in lumber and supplies on the rise… now is a great time!”

He said rising lumber prices have had some impact on home prices in the local market but anticipates a more significant impact in the near future.  “Nationally, prices have increased by nearly 70% according to the National Association of Home Builders.  Locally, we have not felt the impact, but it will be coming.”

Hudson believes the rising lumber prices will slow down permitting for new home construction. “I still feel with increased lumber prices and extended wait time on some materials we will see some decline over the next few months from previous months, which could still be an increase from previous years.”

Developers are still investing in Johnston County. According to Braston Newton, Johnston County’s Planning Director. “Through the month of September 2020 there have been 1,962 new residential lots approved in County jurisdiction – excluding municipal jurisdictions. Compared to the same period in 2019 (1,293 lots) that is a 51% increase.”