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Pikes Peak region sees best year for home construction in 10 years

September 1, 2016 Updated: September 1, 2016 at 1:47 pm
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Housing construction in August jumped 14.7 percent from a year earlier. Gazette file.

Housing construction in August resumed its climb to the best year in a decade, jumping 14.7 percent from a year earlier after declining in July, according to a report released Thursday by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

The agency, which oversees residential and commercial construction, issued 304 permits for single-family home construction in El Paso County. The August increase is the seventh in the past eight months; housing construction in July fell 6.8 percent from July 2015, the first decline this year.

The number of single-family permits issued in the first eight months of the year is up 23.3 percent from the same period a year ago to 2,345, putting the county on pace for the most single-family permits issues in a year since the department issued 3,446 such permits in 2006.

Single-family housing construction has been increasing steadily since the beginning of 2015, which home builders and real estate industry experts say has been triggered by a stronger local economy, higher consumer confidence and mortgage rates that are near the lowest levels in decades. The Colorado Springs area housing market also has benefited from tight supply of resale homes on the market and an influx of buyers from the southern part of the Denver area seeking less-expensive homes in northern El Paso County than are available in Denver.

Home building is a key sector of the local economy - builders and subcontractors employ thousands of people and spend millions of dollars on construction materials. Colorado Springs, El Paso County and other governments benefit from housing construction by collecting sales tax on building material purchases.

In other local housing news, mortgage foreclosure activity rose in August after declining in July to a nearly 16-year low, according to a report Thursday from the El Paso County Public Trustee's Office. The 109 foreclosures filed last month were up 10.1 percent from August 2015, the first monthly increase since March. Despite the August increase, foreclosure filings in the first eight months of the year are still down 3.2 percent from the same period last year to 927.

Property owners who miss several months of mortgage payments typically are sent a foreclosure notice by their lender. If the owner fails to resolve the issue with their lender, they risk losing the property in an auction by the trustee's office. Fewer homeowners have ended up in foreclosure as the housing market has improved since prices have risen and given troubled homeowners a better chance to sell or refinance their loan and avoid foreclosure.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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