Clark County permit activity for townhomes up 66 percent


Area builders tackle crisis of housing affordability

VANCOUVER – The Building Industry Association of Clark County (BIA) reports an increase of 66 percent in townhome permit issuance from 2019 to 2020 in Clark County. In 2019, the total number of permits issued was 62 whereas in 2020 the number of townhome permits was 103. While townhome permits rose, single-family home permit activity saw a slight dip of about 12.8 percent between 2019 and 2020.

The Building Industry Association of Clark County reports an increase of 66 percent in townhome permit issuance from 2019 to 2020 in Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Building Industry Association of Clark County reports an increase of 66 percent in townhome permit issuance from 2019 to 2020 in Clark County. Photo by Mike Schultz

This could signal an emphasis on building to meet the “missing middle” (a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types, compatible in scale with detached single-family homes) and tackle the crisis of housing affordability. According to the National Association of Home Builders, it is called the “missing middle” for two reasons: due to its scalability and its ability to deliver affordable housing options to middle-income households.

While an increase in rents remain unchanged for many for a majority of 2020 due to the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium, no protections are offered for those moving into the area or switching housing options. Though landlords cannot raise rents on existing tenants, they can raise the price per unit when advertising a vacancy. 

Clark County is experiencing a housing inventory shortage across price-points, with less than a one month supply available. Photo by Mike Schultz
Clark County is experiencing a housing inventory shortage across price-points, with less than a one month supply available. Photo by Mike Schultz

With the current state of interest rates, mortgages are often in-line with, or less than the cost of renting. The BIA commends the builders building to meet the “missing middle” so that homeownership can become a reality for more Clark County residents.

While the BIA is ecstatic to report the great news on the housing affordability front, seeing a slight decline in the number of permits issued in the single-family segment of the home building market is disappointing considering the demand for such dwellings. 

Clark County is experiencing a housing inventory shortage across price-points, with less than a one month supply available. It is not surprising that home prices increase with a historically low supply and high demand. Therefore, the BIA recommends an emphasis on building homes at all price-points in 2021 so as not to contradict the efforts made on the housing affordability front.

Tracy Doriot officially steps into new role

The Building Industry Association of Clark County’s state counterpart, the Building Industry Association of Washington, has officially announced its members of the Board of Directors have stepped into their new roles. Clark County resident Tracy Doriot, of Doriot Construction, is the 2021 president of BIAW. Doriot was selected and installed at the November board meeting in Vancouver.

Tracy Doriot, of Doriot Construction, is the 2021 president of BIAW
Tracy Doriot, of Doriot Construction, is the 2021 president of BIAW

Doriot is an award-winning custom home builder with 43 years in the construction business. A Certified Builder, Doriot has served on the Building Industry Association of Clark County’s board of directors since 2007, holding multiple committee chair positions and serving as president the second half of 2009, 2010 and 2016. He’s an active recruiter of new members with 532 Spike credits to date.

Winner of BIAW’s Builder of the Year Award for 2020, Doriot has served on the Cascadia Technical Academy (formerly known as Clark County Skills Center) Construction Technology Advisory Committee since 1996 and has been chair of the board since 2019. He also serves on the board of directors for the Clark County Parks Foundation.

A state leader in the BIAW, active in government affairs, Doriot participates in BIAW’s Washington Affordable Housing Council and has served as a senior officer on its Executive Committee since 2019. He was installed as BIAW’s 2021 President at the Fall Board meeting and looks forward to leading the organization into the future.

“Washington home builders provide more than 188,000 jobs and $16.1 billion in family income,” Doriot said. “We not only provide thousands of family wage jobs and billions in tax revenue for the state, we build homes where families raise their children and people make memories. Now more than ever, I’m proud of our industry and our role in helping people achieve the American dream of home ownership.”

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