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Clanton sees major increase in residential construction

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Residential building in Clanton has increased in recent months with a record number of homes under construction.

Clanton building inspector Gene Martin said there are 44 houses under construction with more in the works.

“That is the most that I have had in 10 years,” Martin said.

An increase in residential building permits for new construction started in January and has continued.

Houses under construction range from 1,400 square feet to 2,300 square feet. Martin said 1,800 square feet is about the average.

In a departure from the custom home building that has been the norm for Clanton in the past, the majority of the new construction is homes being built to preset specifications and then being sold. Martin said some are being sold while construction is going on.

“Most people will buy these because they like the floor plan, and there are no houses on the market available here,” Martin said. “So, these houses are being sold upon completion, if they (buyers) catch them in time, they can custom tweak them before it is completed.”

Martin said these spec-built houses are generally affordable.

Many of these homes are being built in new or expanding subdivisions in the Lomax area.

There is still some custom residential building being done.

During a work session on March 4, Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims said the city had received $25,000 more in revenue from residential building permits in February 2021 than it did in February 2020.

There are a few factors that Martin thinks are contributing to this increase in residential construction.

“Interest rates are low, and the people that have good employment can afford that,” Martin said.

Discussions about the proposed Alabama Farm Center and the progress it is making is also a contributing factor.

Martin said the projected numbers of people who will be coming through the area and the ideas about how many people will move here is likely driving some of the residential construction.

“We are right in the center of the state of Alabama, you can’t get any better location,” Martin said.

He said some people have moved to Clanton, even from out of the state, simply after driving through and liking the area.

How long residential construction will remain at record highs in the city is hard to predict.  Martin said a scarcity of some materials needed, such as oriented strand board, changes in national regulations impacting prices and increases in fuel cost can create challenges to construction.

Recent strong storms and factories that were shut down or slowed production during the pandemic have impacted the supply and demand for construction materials.

However, Martin said it has not impacted it in Clanton, yet.

“It hasn’t slowed down, yet,” Martin said.

Clanton has also seen approval for a few new commercial projects and upgrades to existing businesses.

There has also been an increase in residential remodels in the past few months.

Martin said if a remodeling project costs more than $2,000 or is structural work, no matter who does the work, a building permit is usually required before the work can begin.

Contractors need to have a state and Clanton license verified by the Clanton building Department prior to the project starting.

Specific questions can be answered by the building department at city hall by calling 205-755-6840.