Shelby County builders filed 51 new home permits last month, a 51 percent decrease from 104 permits in March 2010 – a dip they attributed to the now-expired homebuyers tax credit. “Us being down isn’t really a story, it was last year being up was the story because of the tax credit,” said Sean Carlson, principal with Regency Homebuilders LLC. “If the tax credit wasn’t there, there wouldn’t be those jumps in numbers.” Permits averaged 3,127 square feet and $218,045 in March, compared with the March 2010 averages of 2,837 square feet and $200,792, according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. Regency Homebuilders LLC led the county last month with 16 new permits that averaged 2,635 square feet and $183,768. It was followed by Charles Morgan (Vintage Homes LLC) with five permits averaging 2,675 square feet and $190,422. The top subdivision in March was Elpine Gray Estates in Arlington’s 38002 with six permits averaging $157,968 each. The month’s second place was a tie between two subdivisions in Cordova-North’s 38016 ZIP code. Gardens/Grays Creek saw four permits averaging 1,928 square feet and $124,601, while Oaklawn Estates saw four permits averaging 2,863 square feet and $198,423. Builder sales outpaced permits in March, albeit only by a narrow margin. Builders in March sold 54 homes, a 49.1 percent decline from 106 homes sold in 2010 and a 40.7 percent decline from 91 homes sold in 2009. March’s builder sales averaged $243,597, up 12.3 percent from $211,367 in March 2010, but down 7.3 percent from $262,668 in March 2009.