By John Mullen

In 2016 the city of Foley issued 20 permits per month for single-family housing new construction and is on pace to top that in 2017.

Through July 31 the city has issued 155 permits, about 22 per month. The total for all of 2016 was 242.

It’s a trend in South Baldwin County, as Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are also topping 2016 numbers. Orange Beach Building Official Lannie Smith said overall permits and inspections for 2017 are matching the previous year, but permits for homes are ahead of 2016.

“We’re seeing more in the single-family area than we did last year,” Smith said. “We’ve got a couple of new subdivisions that are contributing to that but the rest of them are vacant lots in existing older subdivisions.”

In Gulf Shores, the year 2016 saw 247 permits issued for single-family housing, or about 20 per month. Through July 31, 147 were issued, for an average of 21 per month in 2017.

Gulf Shores leads the way in planned subdivisions, with 764 lots OK’d for construction in six subdivisions, including Adventura, a 404-lot development off County Road 6 which recently got the go-ahead for the first phase of 100 homes. A new 96-unit apartment complex, Marbella, has also been approved, but construction hasn’t begun yet.

“The trend is north of the intracoastal canal for most of the new single-family homes,” Building Official Brandan Franklin said. “County Road 8 subdivisions are being built out, including the ones that have been sitting for years.”

Foley isn’t far behind Gulf Shores, with 681 lots planned in 10 subdivisions, six within the city limits and four in Foley’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction. Subdivisions there are reviewed by both Foley’s and Baldwin County’s planning commissions.

Also in Foley, three apartment complexes totaling 564 units have received site plan approval from the planning commission, but have not yet obtained building permits. Two of those, Baldwin Trace and Sevilla Place, are on County Road 20 and The Reserve is planned for County Road 12.

“I see the growth as a steady increase based on market demand,” Foley Planner Miriam Boutwell said. “We are seeing a diverse demographic of homebuyers, from young families to retirees. People want to enjoy our natural resources, way of life and job market.”

Orange Beach has at least 345 lots approved for building in four subdivisions. Two of those are townhouse developments — Spyglass on Canal Road in East Orange Beach and Gulf Stream on Canal Road near Blalock’s Seafood. No apartments have been approved or built in Orange Beach this year.

“I know that the ones that are being built now and getting the most activity would be the single-family component of Cypress Village and also the expansion of Terry Cove subdivision, Harbor Cove,” Smith said. “Spyglass has all the infrastructure in but hasn’t started building yet. I believe they are getting the buildings engineered.”

Orange Beach has issued 81 building permits for single-family development through July 31 of 2017, one more than the 80 issued in all of 2016.