RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Construction permits for residences in Raleigh County more than doubled between 2020 and 2022, Raleigh County Building Code Officer Bill Vest reported on Friday, January 20, 2022.

Vest reported collections for residential construction permits in the county, outside of Beckley city limits was $17 million in 2022, up by $2 million from 2021.

“It’s substantially more than in years, previous,” Vest said. “The last two years have been over double what the prior years were, the last three years prior to that.”

Vest said the county collected about $7.8 million in 2020.

Despite the boon in residential construction, Beckley real estate broker Kenneth Bryant, owner of WV Mountaineer Real Estate, said the local residential market is severely limited.

“We need developers, as well as residences to sell,” Bryant said.  I’ve been in this business for 32 years now. This is the lowest our inventory’s ever been, during that time period.”

He attributed the housing market drought partly to high interest rates, which cause some homeowners to stay in their current houses. The low inventory forces buyers to adjust their preferences, to pay substantially more than they’d planned or to make a quick cash offer in order to find a home.

In some instances, he said, buyers are forgoing inspections and appraisals in the interest of closing quickly with cash.

Meanwhile, Vest said a number of people are moving to Raleigh County from other states, particularly Florida and New York, and building homes. He added they plan to live in the homes and not sell them.

Bryant said the region obviously has potential for growth and economic development, with help from specialists and elected officials.

“They could do what I’m doing,” Bryant said. “I’m contacting developers, both in state and out of state, letting them know my opinion on the need for housing.”

Raleigh County Commission President Dave Tolliver said the total cost of construction permits for 2022, including commercial permits, was $47 million.