Watchdog Report – October 12th


Fortunately, the Federal government didn’t shut down on September 30.  Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck a deal with Democrats to fund the government until November 17.  That deal included a short-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance program as well.  And then the House members removed McCarthy as Speaker of the House.

There has been plenty written about all of that in the media, so I won’t dwell on it here.  What comes next, however, is that a new Speaker must be selected.  Until then, the House cannot conduct business.  That includes funding the Federal government, and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, past November 17.

I would like to thank all Realtors who responded to NAR’s call-to-action on flood insurance.  It made a difference.  We may ask Realtors to help us again soon.  If you haven’t already done so, please text “Realtors” to 30644 to opt into our calls to action and other REALTOR® Party alerts.

Building Permits

One of the projects I brought with me from my days at the Home Builders Association is building permit data.  I have found accurate and up-to-date building permit information to be critical to effective advocacy not just for my former employers, but for you.  I update the data every month from the reports that local governments send to the US Census Bureau.  I think Realtors may find that data useful too.

In this report, I am sharing with you building permit data through 2022.  I have made a few observations below. 

Permits by County

In this report, I have combined single-family and multi-family building permits because together they constitute housing units that can be occupied by families to meet our housing needs.

The most startling result is Greenville County, where housing production fell a surprising 54%.  Meanwhile, Anderson and Oconee counties continue to rise.

Last month, Oconee County staff reported to county council that building permits and inspections are overwhelming their small staff.  Home Builders in Oconee County are complaining about slow inspections, sometimes 3 weeks after they request them.  But you can see from the trend, building permits in Oconee County have doubled since 2018.

Anderson County has not doubled like Oconee County, but it is still up 50%.

Meanwhile, Greenville County has fallen back to 2018 levels.  The graph below provides a good visual.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to Anderson County Council about growth trends and issues at their planning retreat.  Among the influencers I talked to them about is Greenville County.  I told them that our region’s population continues to grow.  If that growth can’t locate in Greenville County, as expected, neighboring counties will see increased growth.  Obviously, Anderson and Oconee counties are receiving a larger share of that population growth.  That creates opportunities for Realtors in the Western Upstate.

In future reports, I will report on 2023 year-to-date as well as look at the population data from the US Census.

Support RPAC

We held a great Oyster Roast this week to raise funds for RPAC.  But we have a little more work to do.  If you haven’t supported RPAC this year, please consider contributing to the PAC.  It’s easy.

Michael Dey, Director of Government Affairs