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(WBIR - Knoxville) Home building is one of the industries hit hardest during the economic downturn, but Knox County housing permits are showing big gains.

Organizers of the Knoxville Home Show said the event can be used as a barometer to gauge economic confidence among those looking to build or remodel their home.

Doug Alred of Andersonville was among the many people wandering around the convention center looking for ideas. He said, "My wife and I are interested in counter tops. She's looking for a solid surface maybe quartz or granite. We really don't know for sure."

In addition to counter tops, those attending the exhibit were able to get ideas for tiles, windows, landscaping, and pretty much anything else needed for a home.

Ashley Burnette, Executive Vice President for the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville (HBAGK), said the event's attendance over the past few years is steadily increasing to its pre-recession numbers. He said, "We all know the economy and housing has been through a rough patch and we're building it back up in the right direction."

Scott Davis, President of Eagle Bend Development and a member of the HBAGK, said, "In 2013, Knox County pulled 1,149 new permits and that was a 31.5% increase over 2012. And 2012 was about a 20% increase over 2011. So we're seeing a significant increase in new home starts."

Sunday is the last day for the Home Show. Doors open at 12:00 p.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. For ticket information go to http://www.hbaknoxville.com/#bf_miniCal_83.

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