Home construction in Colorado Springs’ fire-ravaged Mountain Shadows neighborhood has given a slight boost to homebuilding in the Pikes Peak region this year, but isn’t the main factor in the industry’s recovery.
A Pikes Peak Regional Building Department report released Monday showed the pace of homebuilding in the Springs and surrounding El Paso County has risen to a five-year high in 2012.
A closer look at Regional Building records shows rebuilding efforts in Mountain Shadows — where nearly 350 homes were destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire in June — are having an impact on the overall numbers, but it’s minimal:
• Through November, 2,065 building permits were issued for construction of single-family, detached homes in El Paso County, Regional Building Department records show. The figure excludes apartments, townhomes and other types of construction.
• Of that number, 58 single-family permits were issued for homes in Mountain Shadows — 2.8 percent of the total through November, records show. Five more single-family permits have been issued since Dec. 1.
“It’s a decent number, but it’s a nominal number,” said George Hess, owner of Vantage Homes in Colorado Springs. His company is working on a handful of homes in Mountain Shadows.
Single-family permits issued so far in 2012 have eclipsed last year’s total and are at their highest level since 2,135 permits were issued in 2007.
Record-low mortgage rates have been credited with reinvigorating homebuilding, along with pent-up demand on the part of buyers who were waiting on the sidelines for the economy to improve.
Much of the area’s homebuilding is taking place on the Springs’ north and northeast sides in neighborhoods such as Flying Horse, Wolf Ranch, Forest Meadows and the Banning Lewis Ranch; builders also are active in Fountain to the south.
After the national economy fell into recession five years ago, local homebuilding slumped, although some builders say their downturn actually began in 2006. In any case, by 2009, only 1,105 single-family building permits were issued in El Paso County; that year’s total was the lowest since 1990.
If the local homebuilding industry is to feel a bigger effect from construction in Mountain Shadows, it probably will come in 2013, Hess said.
And as homebuilding picks up in that area, it will help boost the economic fortunes of the homebuilding industry and the various trades — plumbing, electrical and the like — that depend on home construction, said John Bissett, founder of JM Weston Homes in the Springs and board president of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs.
“While nobody ever wants to capitalize on the misery of others, I actually believe that as those homes begin to be rebuilt, it will have a positive economic impact on the region,” Bissett said.
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