It’s just one data point, but Blue Springs got off to a fast start to the year with new home permits.

The city issued 35 permits to build single-family homes in January, compared with eight in January 2013. For all of 2013, permits were up 60 percent in the city compared with 2012, and that kept it in the metro area’s top 10, as tallied by the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

Grain Valley can brag some too. After a 12 percent gain in 2013, it also got this year off to a great start. In January 2013, the city issued no permits. In January of this year, it issued 13.

Across Eastern Jackson County, single-family homes permits – again, just a one-month snapshot – were up 78 in January, compared with January 2013.

Lee’s Summit is the area’s other Top 10 performer, coming in at No. 4 metrowide for the last two years, behind Kansas City, Mo., Olathe and Overland Park. In January, the city issued just six permits, down from 18 a year earlier.

Those new homes are selling for more, too. The average new home in Jackson County sold for $304,555 in February, up 7.9 percent from a year earlier. That’s from the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors and Heartland Multiple Listing Service, which also report this week that the metrowide average price of a new house in February was $342,308, up 1 percent in a year.

Of course, about 90 percent of home sales are of existing homes. The average existing home sale in Jackson County was $121,857 in February, up 6.8 percent in a year. That compares with a metro figure of $151,435, up 4.5 percent.

Coming to town

Pizza Shoppe in Blue Springs has moved from a strip center on North Missouri 7 to Main Street. It’s downtown, across from the Community Bank of America. ... Independence Center says new or remodeled sites are opening soon. Tilly’s sells apparel and accessories. Teriyaki Grill and Fenway Steakburgers are coming to the food court. Foot Locker is remodeling and in a temporary space on the upper floor.

Winning brand?

An Independence company is still alive in the Battle of the Brands, conducted by KCsourcelink. After two rounds, the 64-brand field – Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse, Hen House, The Roasterie, Tippin’s Pies, lots of others – has been narrowed to 16.

Three Independence brands started out in the microenterprise bracket. Vibe Communications lost in the first round, and the Berry Nutty Farm defeated She’s a Pistol before falling to Fire Bug BBQ.

But Hippie Chow – high-end, healthy granola now part of the Berry Nutty Farm operation – is still around, having gotten past Karrie Kaneda and then the Paw Wash. Up next: Monumental Lawn & Outdoor of Raymore.

Voting continues: Go to

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business reporter and editor. Reach him at 816-350-6313. Follow on Twitter @FoxEJC or @Jeff_Fox.