by Joni Astrup
New home construction in Elk River may be slowly picking up speed after several quiet years.
Fifty-two new residential permits have been issued so far this year in Elk River, according to Bob Ruprecht, the city’s building official. That’s up from 36 in all of 2012 but still tame compared to the building boom in the early 2000s, when more than 500 residential permits were issued yearly.
Ruprecht believes the 52 residential permits are not an anomaly but rather a nice, slow, steady climb from the bottom.
Denny Chuba of The Chuba Company put it this way: “People are at least thinking about building houses, where before it was only people with a lot of money who were doing anything.” The Chuba Company is an Elk River company that does remodeling and builds custom homes. Chuba also serves on the Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
Chuba said remodeling is also strong after a somewhat slow spring due to the weather.
“There seems to be really a big demand for additions, kitchens, decks, a lot of renovations,” he said.
In another indicator of the state of the local economy, the taxable market value of property in Elk River appears to be stabilizing after several years of declining values.
The city doesn’t have final numbers yet, but, for next year, estimated market values are increasing overall approximately $7 million, according to Elk River Finance Director Tim Simon. That is mainly due to early indications that residential values will increase approximately 2.59 percent. Commercial and industrial properties may see a slight decrease in values based on early estimates, he said.