Remarkable year for housing additions

Wilton’s economy showed robust growth during this year’s construction season, according to home addition permit application data on file with the town’s building inspector.

A total of $8.8 million worth of additions were assigned permits from January through August, up 60% from $5.5 million worth in 2016 during the same period, according to the data.

The value of the projects was also higher. The average home addition in 2017 cost $84,898, up 24.8% from an average $67,757 in 2016, according to the data.

The construction of new homes remained flat, at about six per year.

But that’s no surprise because in Wilton, land is expensive and homes tend to be large and expensive. The better economic indicator for Wilton is its home additions, said Robert Root, the town’s building inspector.

“In Wilton, you can have home additions that are 2,500 square feet, the size of a home in another town,” Root said.

The additions included an $800,000 job on Carriage Road, and a $500,000 addition on Middlebrook Farm Road. There was a $700,000 addition on Buckingham Ridge Road.

In many ways, the attention to such large additions shows that instead of purchasing new homes, residents are content to add on to their current homes, said economist Steven Glazer of Norwalk Community College.

It is an optimistic sign for the local economy, Glazer said, because it means residents are willing to spend money and are not apprehensive about finances.

“In general, people will tend to do that only if they are confident in their finances,” Glazer said.

It also means that home values should be increasing throughout Wilton, which traditionally serves to enhance property taxes and provide more money to the schools, thereby contributing to a better school system, he said.

This in turn should lead to increased interest, especially among young families, to want to move to Wilton and could lead to even higher property values as the demand for homes in Wilton increases, as this is a cyclical phenomenon.

“This bodes well for the local economy since it also means more local contracting and related jobs, which will increase disposable incomes beyond Wilton,” Glazer said.