MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Planning Commission gave preliminary plat approval to more than 5,800 new residential lots proposed by developers in 2006, but only 99 building permits were issued by planning department staff last year, according to Director Stefanie Allemong.
"The housing market is dead," Planning Commissioner Gary Poling said after the panel's regular meeting Thursday. In the period, the City of Martinsburg issued 168 building permits, according to preliminary data provided by City Engineer/Planner Michael Covell.
Poling, himself a builder, said houses priced at about $150,000 were still "moving" in a market featuring more houses than buyers.
And even with the thousands of new lots created last year, Poling suspects that many of them are going to "go away" if the market continues to decline.