Out of the woods? The figures for housing suggest a different picture.

Out of the woods? The figures for housing suggest a different picture.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City has released final figures for 2009, and it’s not pretty. Cities across an eight-county area – from Oak Grove to Archie to Paola to Leavenworth to Kearney – issued 3,651 permits for new housing. That’s a drop of 27.9 percent from 2008, continuing the steep slide in housing construction seen since 2005.

The hurt was deeper in Eastern Jackson County. For single-family homes, permits were off 41.8 percent, from 437 in 2008 to just 257 in 2009. That’s counting the Home Builders Association figures for Independence, Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, Buckner, Sugar Creek, Raytown, Lake Lotawana and unincorporated parts of the county. That area accounted for about 12 percent of the metro area’s single-family home permits in 2009. Johnson County accounted for about one-third of the market and Platte County about one-quarter.

Let’s look city by city at single-family permits:

 Independence – 48 permits in 2009, down 38 percent from 77 in 2008.


 Blue Springs – 52, down 46 percent from 97.


 Lee’s Summit (Jackson County portion) – 95, down 35 percent from 147.


 Grain Valley – 18, down 51 percent from 37.


 Oak Grove was one of the few cities to see a gain. It issued 11 permits, up from eight in 2008. Others seeing gains for the year included Grandview, Kearney, Smithville and Parkville.  Buckner – zero, down from one in 2008.   Sugar Creek – none in 2008 or 2009.  Raytown – one in 2008 and another one in 2009.  Lake Lotawana – six in 2009, down from eight in 2008.  The unincorporated parts of the county – 26, down 57 percent from 61.

Kansas City continues to lead the metro area in single-family permits – but three quarters of that growth is coming in Clay County north of the river. Just 36 of the 520 permits the city issued last year were in Jackson County. Overall, Kansas City saw a 35.9 percent drop in 2009.

The rest of the top five in the area are Olathe (305 units), Overland Park (132), Lee’s Summit (110, which includes the Jackson County and Cass County parts of the city) and Kansas City, Kan./Wyandotte County (101). That’s the same as the top five was in 2008.

Blue Springs is hanging on to its top-10 status. It’s No. 8, in a three-tie with Leavenworth and Shawnee. Each issued 52 permits. No. 6 is unincorporated Platte County (76), and No. 7 is Gardner (72). With just four more permits, Independence would have cracked the top 10 as well.

Big picture: The area’s housing construction market is less than one-fifth what it was in 2004. That year the area set a record in single-family permits, with 12,720. In 2005, it fell 6.5 percent, then 21 percent in 2006, 32 percent in 2007, a stunning 49.3 percent in 2008 and last year’s more modest but still troubling 33.3 percent, with just 2,154 permits.

The Home Builders Association has reflected talk in the industry nationwide in saying that the homebuyer’s tax credit – part of Washington’s economic stimulus effort – has helped home sales. That credit almost expired late in the year, apparently prompting a modest push in sales, but at the last minute Congress extended and expanded the credit into the spring. There’s an $8,000 credit through April 30 for first-time home buyers, and now those who have been in their home for five of the last eight years can qualify for up to $6,500 if they buy a new home.

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales – single-family homes, townhomes, condos – fell 16.7 percent in December, even more sharply that the 11.6 percent analysts had expected.