City of Naples residential and commercial permits 2007-2012
Jan. 1 through Aug. 30, 2012
Source: City of Naples Building Department
For the first time since the 2007 housing market collapse, residential building permits in the city of Naples are on pace to meet or surpass pre-recession numbers.
Industry experts said the increase hints at the beginning of an economic recovery for the city. The increase made it possible for the city's building department to add four positions.
"We aren't at record levels, but we have seen an increase (in permits) over the last few years," said Paul Bollenback, an official with the building department.
In 2007, the city permitted 109 single-family homes. The number dropped the next two years to a low of 36 in 2009. As of Thursday, the city had permitted 89 single-family homes for 2012 — an average of about 11 per month.
"We've seen an increase in activity in the Royal Harbor area," Bollenback said. "And we're just beginning to see more activity in Park Shore also. Those hopefully will be good."
On Wednesday, the city's Design Review Board recommended approval for four old-Florida style cottages to be built downtown — on the northeast corner of Fifth Street South and Fourth Avenue South — in a grouping called Mustique of Olde Naples, LLC.
The property was rezoned from multi-family to single-family homes, which appeal more to buyers said Joe Belz, a Realtor, who sold land for the development.
"When you build a multi-family home, you end up with a three-story building with elevators," he said. "Single-family homes are a more desirable product."
In 2010, Belz sold land off of Central Avenue and west of the downtown library to add more single family homes.
"I think we're getting back to a level where land prices are down low enough that it makes sense to build again," Belz said.
As a primarily "bedroom community," Naples is nearly saturated in terms of space to build homes, Bollenback said.
"There is a pent-up demand for single-family homes in the city of Naples," he said.
Lighthouse Point homes, a community of 83 single-family homes is scheduled to be built north of Bayfront Inn in the city. That property, along with properties like Mustique of Olde Naples, will give buyers more options, Belz said.
When Lighthouse Point was announced, Brenda Fioretti, spokeswoman for the Naples Area Board of Realtors, said single-family homes are in high demand.
"We're concerned because buyers have very few choices for products and properties," she said. "It's helping prices increase, but buyers have very low choices.
"We welcome options."