homebuilding

The Indigo Ranch development on Colorado Springs’ northeast side has been an active construction site.

The pace of Colorado Springs-area homebuilding in 2019 continues to trail that of last year.

In February, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issued 272 permits for construction of single-family homes, according to the agency’s monthly report on residential and commercial construction in El Paso County. That’s down 9 percent compared with the same month last year.

For the first two months of the year, single-family home permits totaled 431, a decline of 27.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

In addition to being slower out of the gate in 2019, the year-to-date numbers are down slightly from 2016-2017.

Yet local homebuilding generally has rebounded after struggling during the Great Recession and for several years afterward, and housing officials have said they remain confident that the industry will enjoy another solid year in 2019.

Building permit totals have climbed each year since 2014 and hit a 13-year high of 3,856 in 2018. The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs has predicted single-family permits will total about 3,600 this year and that 3,000 or more would be considered a good year.

Industry experts have pointed to a stronger local economy, job growth, improved consumer confidence and mortgage rates that remain historically low as factors that have helped drive the demand for housing in the Pikes Peak region.

A healthy homebuilding industry remains a significant part of the area’s economy and therefore gets plenty of attention from economists, business people and local governments.

Builders and subcontractors employ thousands of framers, carpenters, plumbers and electricians, while tax revenues collected on the sales of building materials generate millions of dollars for local governments, which use the money to pay for roads, parks and other basic services.

Foreclosures slow

The stronger housing market also has been credited with helping to dramatically slow foreclosure activity in the Pikes Peak region.

In February, 81 foreclosure notices were sent to local residential and commercial property owners, says a report by the county’s Public Trustee’s Office. That’s down almost 6 percent from a year ago though up 17.4 percent from January.

For the first two months of 2019, foreclosure notices totaled 150, down 2.6 percent from the same period in 2018.

Foreclosure activity has been declining since the Great Recession ended. Last year saw 908 foreclosure notices, the fewest in 20 years and the first time since 1999 that the annual total fell below 1,000.

Business writer, Colorado Springs Gazette

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