The value of new buildings approved in Loddon Shire has jumped almost 46 per cent in a quarter, a trend attributed largely to growing confidence in the agricultural sector.
A building services activity report that went before the council this month shows the development and compliance department issued 50 new permits in the first quarter of this financial year, up from 33 in the last quarter of 2019-20.
The value of these buildings rose by 45.9 per cent, from about $2.94 million in the previous quarter to about $4.3 million in the most recent quarter.
Steven Phillips, Loddon Shire director of operations, said there had been a drop in building permits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 33 for quarter four of the last financial year quite a low number, which was responsible for some of the subsequent increase.
"But I don't think that's all of it," Mr Phillips said.
Eight of the permits issued in the most recent quarter were for new homes, worth about $2 million.
Mr Phillips said the number of homes was not unusual, but the value was: they were seeing some high-value residences.
"People seem to be investing in homes and in the shire," he said.
Thirty of the new permits were for sheds, valued at $1.6 million.
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Loddon Shire mayor Neil Beattie said confidence was at an all-time high in hay and grain, and this appeared to be driving an increase in the number of sheds being built.
Cr Beattie said this confidence in the agricultural sector in the area was also flowing through to new homes.
The completion of the South West Loddon Pipeline project was likely to drive development further, bringing intensive agriculture and more building to the area.
Mr Phillips said the shire was starting to see an increase in the number of new homes being built, and the council was also getting a lot of enquiries about subdividing existing blocks.
This was a key part of the council's settlement strategy, he said, and that would result in more new homes being built.
Mr Phillips said this quarter was on track to see even more building permits issued in the shire.