Herald-Times graphic by Boris Ladwig
Herald-Times graphic by Boris Ladwig
For more than a decade, construction of single-family homes, duplexes and even manufactured homes in Bloomington has lagged behind the pace the community experienced in the early part of the millennium.

Experts in real estate, construction and economics told The Herald-Times reasons for the decline include tighter lending standards from banks, an aging labor force coupled with shortage of skilled workers, a clampdown on immigration, tariffs on products including timber and the demise of construction firms, and lumber mills and related businesses that folded after the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007-10.

“A lot of this really is still the after effects of the Great Recession,” said Matt Kinghorn, senior demographic analyst with the Indiana Business Research Center, which is part of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Building permits issued by the Monroe County Building Department illustrate the trend: In the boom years before the recession, between 2003 and 2008, the department issued an average of 451 permits for single-family homes per year. Since that time, the number of permits it issued for those types of homes has fallen by more than half, to just 205 per year.

Permits approved annually for manufactured homes fell by more than 61%, from 48 to 19. And permits for duplexes declined even more, from 40 per year, to 13 since, down more than 68%.
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