New commercial building permits increase during first half of 2015 in Tri-Cities


The Tri-Cities led East Tennessee in the pace of new commercial construction – as measured by the number of commercial building permits – for the second straight quarter this year.

commercial permits

New commercial building permits issued during the first half of each year.

According to The Market Edge, the number of Tri-Cities permits for the first half of 2015 was up 11% when compared to the same period in 2014.  New permits during that period declined in the Chattanooga region by 6.5% and were up 3.8% in the Knoxville region.

During the first quarter new permits increased 25% compared to Q1 2014. The number of permits in the Knoxville area was down 11.6% and the Chattanooga area saw a decline of 6%.

On the county level, permits increased during the first six months of this year compared to 2014 in all but three counties. Greene County was down 12, Washington Co. TN was down by one and Scott Co. VA was unchanged.

Sullivan County led the region in the total number of permits during the first half of this year followed with 50 new permits in Q1 and 63 in Q2.

Washington Co. TN – the region’s second largest market – had 61 new permits in Q1 then a drop off to 48 in Q2.

Hawkins and Carter counties had the largest gain rate.

The Market Edge report shows the Tri-Cities permit value as $122.1 million so far this year. The 2014 – which was a down year for commercial permits – total was $253.7 million. The 2013 annual was $278.9 million.

Market Edge President Dale Akins qualifies the quarterly commercial building permit report with this statement, “ It is our belief that commercial building permit trends are actually NOT a reliable “trend indicator” due to the differences in how commercial construction projects are permitted. For example: permits for a 200-unit apartment complex could be issued as 1 permit, 1 permit per building, or 1 permit per unit, depending upon the requirements of the local code enforcement office. This difference will void any attempt to extract a meaningful comparison between counties or markets.”

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