The pace of Colorado Springs-area homebuilding fell in October for the third straight month, an indication that defense cuts and lagging consumer confidence might be contributing to the slowdown, one housing official said.
Single-family building permits issued for homes to be built in El Paso County totaled 208 last month, a 2.3 percent drop from October 2012, according to a Pikes Peak Regional Building Department report released Friday.
John Bissett, owner of JM Weston Homes and board president of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, had pointed to higher mortgage rates over the past few months as a reason for the construction slowdown.
But now that permits have declined for a third consecutive month, Bissett said it's possible that defense cuts made as a result of sequestration might be a factor. Likewise, he said, some consumers might have delayed new home purchases because they were worried about the effects of the federal government shutdown.
Despite October's slowdown, the overall picture for the homebuilding industry has brightened this year, Regional Building Department figures show.
Through the first 10 months of 2013, single-family building permits totaled 2,367 - up 26.2 percent over the same period last year. Also, this year's 10-month total already has surpassed the 2,216 permits issued for all of last year.
Of this year's permits, 206 - or 8.7 percent - were issued for rebuilding homes that were destroyed by last year's Waldo Canyon fire and this year's Black Forest fire, Regional Building Department records show.
Homebuilding is a closely watched barometer of the local economy. The building industry employs thousands of people in the Pikes Peak region, and sales tax revenue generated by the purchase of building materials - lumber, drywall and the like - pumps millions into the coffers of local governments. Governments, in turn, use the money to pay for police and fire protection, park maintenance and other basic services.
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