The housing market in Columbia County could see a new trend this year.
Development Services Director Richard Harmon predicts 2013 will bring an increase in residential developments geared toward retirees.
Recent discussions with area builders and a retirement study conducted by the county led Harmon to that conclusion, he said.
“About 25 percent of their market is to retirees, which tells me there’s another market out there,” Harmon said. “People want to stay here, but they don’t want to live in the larger homes.
“They want to move into a smaller house.”
Harmon said he expects some developers to divvy future subdivisions into smaller lots for active senior communities.
“I think it would be an asset to the community if that did happen,” he said.
Residential construction, as a whole, remained steady in 2012 as it had in previous years, Harmon said.
The county issued 1077 single-family and townhome permits last year, just six fewer than in 2011.
The bulk of new-home construction continues to develop on both portions of William Few Parkway, Harmon said.
Two apartment complexes, in the Riverwood Plantation and Mill Branch subdivisions, are in the works for 2013, he said.
Commercial development also was on par last year with figures from 2011. The county recorded one additional commercial permit in 2012, bringing the total to 26.
“I’m thinking that because of the last three years, averaging about 1,000 single-family permits a year, it’s time that we start seeing commercial (permits) come in,” Harmon said.
Projects such as an ALDI discount grocery store on Bobby Jones Expressway and a new Kendrick Paint & Body auto repair shop at Washington and Blanchard roads contributed to the 2012 permit numbers.
In Marshall Square, a nearly 54,000-square-foot fitness center, the five-story TaxSlayer building and other office space were completed in 2012.
Upcoming in 2013 are a Kia dealership at the corner of Washington and Gibbs roads, an assisted-living center on Evans-to-Locks Road, and medical and retail space at the Gateway center near Grovetown and Interstate 20, Harmon said.