Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Homebuilding continues on upward path in June

RICH LADEN Updated: July 2, 2012 at 12:00 am

Homebuilding jumped again last month in the Colorado Springs area.

Single-family homebuilding permits in the Springs and El Paso County totaled 217 in June, a 65.6 percent gain over the same month last year, according to a report Monday by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. It was the sixth straight year-over-year increase in monthly permit totals.

For the first half of 2012, single-family home permits totaled 1,025 in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, a 51.2 percent increase over the same period in 2011. It’s the best first-half total, and the first time first-half permits exceeded 1,000, since 2007.

Extremely low mortgage rates continue to drive buyer interest, said John Cassiani, board president of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs. And several homebuilders have their own in-house mortgage groups that are making it easier for buyers to get financed.

There’s also been a pent-up demand among buyers, some of whom feel slightly better about their job security and are taking advantage of low rates to purchase, Cassiani said. Also, some buyers recognize that prices have ticked upward of late, and they want to buy now, he said.

Colorado Springs economist Dave Bamberger of Summit Economics said, “the mood of the consumer seems to be heading in a positive direction,” and this year’s single-family permit total could top last year’s by about 30 percent. That would mean this year’s permit total would surpass 1,800 — the highest in five years.

Still, the Pikes Peak region has a long way to go to recover from what Bamberger called “the great housing recession.”

While many Mountain Shadows-area residents might rebuild homes destroyed in the Waldo Canyon fire, completion of those homes could take upward of a year after homeowners deal with their insurance companies, make decisions about rebuilding and the like, Cassiani said.

For now, the HBA has posted a list of reputable building contractors, architects and the like for fire victims: Go to www.cshba.com and click on the “Rebuilding our Community” tab.

Homebuilding is a closely watched component of the local economy. The industry employs thousands of people and generates millions of dollars in sales tax revenue that local governments rely on to pay for basic services.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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