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PRAIRIE GROVE — The city already has set a record this year for total dwelling units and most likely will break its record for single-family homes by the end of the month.

Through Aug. 4, the city has issued permits for 158 residential units, which includes single family houses, duplexes and multi-family units. The previous record was set in 2005 with 144 permits.

Of the total permits issued through Aug. 4, 132 are permits issued for single-family homes and the city is on track to break its record from 2016. The city issued 148 permits for new houses last year. The record before that was set in 2005, with 118 single-family homes.

Larry Oelrich, director of administrative services and public works, said he doesn’t track the number of permits by month but noted he wouldn’t be surprised if the city set a record in June for the number of permits for new houses issued during one month.

In June, the city issued permits for 30 houses.

The city started off 2017 by issuing 14 permits for single-family houses in January. This increased to 22 permits in February. The lowest number of permits for a month was eight in July but then in August, the city gave out eight permits within the first two days of the month.

Mayor Sonny Hudson said a lot of folks seem to want to come to Prairie Grove and he said he believes the city is attracting people for several reasons. The city has a small-town feel, historical significance and the city provides amenities, such as water, sewer, new sidewalks and improved roads.

“We always want to work to make Prairie Grove a better place to live,” Hudson said.

Hudson said builders are constructing very nice homes and he believes that’s another reason people are buying in the community.

Oelrich said new homes are going up in about six subdivisions, including Sundowner Estates, Battlefield Estates, Prairie Meadows, Grandview Estates, Stone-crest and Bellmeade.

“All of these have houses being built as fast as they can go up,” Oelrich said.

Oelrich said cost is probably the biggest factor driving the growth in Prairie Grove. Many of the lots were repossessed by banks and sold cheap to builders. These lots may have cost $20,000-$25,000, compared to a regular price of $40,000-$45,000, Oelrich said.

“If the lot costs less, you can sell the house for less,” Oelrich said. “That’s a no-brainer.”

However, like Hudson, he said people are coming to Prairie Grove because it’s a desirable place to live.

“And they are coming from all over.”

Nathan Ogden, owner of Pick-It Construction in Prairie Grove, said his company will start or complete around 23 houses in Prairie Grove in 2017. Seven are custom homes and the rest are “spec homes.”

Ogden said he attributes the growth to the city being a great place to live and the cost of the homes. The price per square foot is still reasonable considering material, labor and what it costs to develop a lot these days, he said.

In addition, Ogden said, the lack of lots in other bedroom communities in Northwest Arkansas has brought more people to Prairie Grove.

Ogden said he’s building in Prairie Grove because he’s from Prairie Grove and many of his employees live in Prairie Grove.

“We not only look at each house as a means to provide for our families, we look at it as a means to provide and be a part of our old friend’s or new friend’s home,” Ogden said. “We’ve always taken pride in Prairie Grove and wanting to give back and see it do well.”

City housing records for 2017 show permits have been issued for homes ranging in size from 1,235 square feet to one 3,314 square feet. Many are 1,200-1,800 square feet in size.

Through Aug. 4, the city has issued 26 multi-family units, including eight duplexes, two three-plexes and one four-plex. The city didn’t issue any multi-family permits in 2016.

Also through Aug. 4, the city has received more than $100,000 in fees for building permits, which includes permits for new houses, remodels, storage buildings, commercial buildings and multi-family structures. The valuation, or construction costs, for all of these projects, is $19 million.

Lynn Kutter may be reached by email at lkutter@nwadg.com .

Print Headline: Prairie Grove breaks housing permit record

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