Eastern Jackson County is feeling the regional and national slowdown in housing starts, though some communities are still holding up well.

For the first six months of the year, permits to build single-family homes are down 35 percent across the eight-county metro area, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

Why? The National Association of Home Builders says low interest rates aren’t enough to overcome rising development and construction costs as well as trade issues. It projects no growth nationwide in single-family homes during the second half of the year.

Eastern Jackson County accounted for about one new home out of five in the metro area last year, paced by Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit. Blue Springs rocketed to No. 4 among area cities and counties last year. So far in 2019, it’s No. 5, trailing only Kansas City, Olathe, Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. Still, its 116 permits in the first six months of 2019 significantly trail the 257 permits at the same point in 2018.

Overall, Eastern Jackson County is down 31 percent. Independence is down – 81 in the first half of 2018, compared with 46 this year. Lee’s Summit is down, too, 233 to 195.

Grain Valley is a bright spot – 54 permits for the first half of 2018 and 71 in 2019.

Quick hits

3 Trails Brewing, at Main and Maple on the Independence Square, had a good showing at the 2019 Denver International Beer Competition a few weeks ago. Its Trail Dragger took second in the best-of-show judging. Its Norbest won silver in the “other sour beers” category, and Le Metier won bronze in the Saisons category. … The Missouri Association of Manufacturers is doing something new – a one-day Manufacturing for Women Conference – and it’s in Independence. It’s set for Sept. 24 at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center. There’s networking, lunch and a keynote presentation, with programs through the afternoon.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or jeff.fox@examiner.net.