New-construction permits in Farmington were down by about half from last year, but city officials say it’s temporary, as contractors work to implement new state building codes.

The city granted 14 certificates of occupancy permits in the first quarter of 2015, the lowest in the last four years. The highest was 44 in 2012.

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, state building codes had not been updated since 2007 and were due for an overhaul. Most of the codes went into effect Jan. 24, which consequently affected building permits from January to March.

“I had a lot of contractors calling me asking for how we interpret some of these new codes and how they could meet them,” said Ken Lewis, building official. “Most of the codes were for making homes more energy efficient,” he said.

Lewis said the new construction has been all single family homes, some medium to high end and some for first-time home buyers. Average house valuations were $216,833, down slightly from last year at $220,644.

The city uses the new construction permits to calculate Farmington’s population.

The population has increased by approximately 256 since last year, for a total of 22,487. The increase has been gradual. The last census numbers showed 21,086 in 2010.

“I think we’re on a steady pace,” Lewis said. “We’re not exploding like the neighboring cities around here, but things are picking up.”

Lewis said another housing development on 195th Street between Embers Ave. and Hwy. 3 has been discussed for the last two years with hopes of breaking ground as early as this year.