LAYTON -- If Mother Nature ever decides to cooperate, this could be a great year for building homes in Layton.
Since reaching "rock bottom" single-family house permit numbers in 2008, including a month where no permits were issued, Layton has continued to issue more permits each year.
City officials expect that number to increase again this year.
Layton issued 149 single-family home permits in 2010, which was up from 105 permits in 2009.
Having already issued 66 permits this year, the city has received several applications in the past two weeks.
"With the way this year has gone so far with weather, I'm surprised we have as many permits as we have," said Layton economic specialist Ben Hart.
Those applications that have been turned in during the past few weeks will soon become permits.
The city issued a disappointing 92 permits in 2008. In January that year, no permits were issued.
"It was the first time anyone around here could remember a month where we didn't issue a single-family house permit," Hart said.
Economists and researchers at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at University of Utah's Eccles School of Business reported that the number of permits issued for new single-family homes in Utah turned positive in July 2009, following 39 consecutive months of decline. After that, cities issued permits at a steady increase.
Those findings were the first sign that Utah's home-building industry was in the early stages of recovering from the worst contraction in more than 70 years.
"We're not naive enough to really believe that the economy is back on track, but it shows signs of life, and that is the important thing," Hart said.
"It's heading in the right direction, and that's what we have to remember," said Brad Wilson, president and CEO of Destination Homes.
Wilson said Destination Homes is applying for close to 20-25 percent more single-family house permits this year than last year. Not all of those permits are in Layton, but Wilson said Layton and Davis County are high-demand areas.
"It's not as strong as it was four years ago, but we'll definitely take a gradual improvement over the opposite," Wilson said.
Wilson also said he has started to see some inflation in building material, which has not happened in the past three years.
"We expect lumber prices to be up 25 percent," Wilson said.
Hart said the subdivision named Pheasant Place, near Angel Street and 500 South, is where the most new homes are being built. He also mentioned areas in west Layton and northeast Layton as other sites of new neighborhoods.
"The lots in subdivisions are starting to fill in," Hart said. "The new subdivisions coming on line shows that the economy is coming back in a sustained way."