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Decline In Central Ky. Home Building Worst Since '80s

CENTRAL, KY -- After a year that saw construction plunge to levels not seen since the '80s, Central Kentucky home builders say they're hopeful that the housing market will start turning around by late 2009., reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Data released this month show that the number of residential building permits fell 37 percent overall in Fayette and seven surrounding counties compared to 2007. That's on top of a 21 percent decline in 2007. And there was a 27 percent decline in 2006 compared to 2005

"None of us in this business have ever seen it this way," said Haymaker Development Co.'s Tim Haymaker. Haymaker tracks single-family home permits issued in Fayette County and said 2008's number was the lowest since 1982.

According to numbers compiled by The Market Edge, a Knoxville reporting service used by builders and lenders, 798 residential building permits were issued in Fayette County in 2008, compared to 1,266 the year before. The 2008 number is even more jarring against the 2005 Fayette total of 2,329 permits. "It's astounding how far we're really down," Haymaker said.

Amid an already-offered federal tax incentive and much-discussed stimuls packages, Central Kentucky builders, developers and real estate agents are hopeful that a turnaround might finally come. Even in the dark times, there have been a few bright spots — as single-family homes falter, for example, apartment business is picking up, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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