Home building is a major driver of the Knox County economy, but there is little evidence the current housing slump is abating. County building permits for new single family housing are at 50 to 55 per month. During normal times in Knox County the new permits issued for single family houses would run 250 to 300 a month.
The problem is frozen lines of credit preventing developers from moving forward. There is also a glut of houses produced by foreclosures. In 2005 foreclosures in Knox County were in the 60-80 range per month. They moved up to over a hundred a month in 2008, they hit 150 in 2010 and are still running over 100 so far this year.
There was some fear back in the winter that abandoned subdivisions without complete drainage and grading might produce major problems, given torrential rainstorms this year. But the county has been working with developers to forestall runoff by finishing grading and drainage ditches.