Fewer single-family homes are being constructed so far this year in the Colorado Springs area, yet building activity last month reached a high point for 2019 and year-to-date numbers suggest the housing market remains strong.
"We're seeing stability, and that's really good as far as I'm concerned," said Randy Deming, CEO of Springs-based builder Campbell Homes.
In May, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issued 391 permits for the construction of single-family homes in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, according to a report by the agency this week.
May's building permit total fell nearly 12% on a year-over-year basis but was the highest this year and the most for any month since November.
Through the first five months of this year, single-family permits totaled 1,443, down almost 19% from the same period in 2018.
Though 2019 construction activity trails that of last year, it's running ahead of every other year since 2007, Regional Building Department records show. And annual permits are on pace to reach 3,000, a mark that Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs officials have said signals a healthy market.
Deming said he remains cautiously optimistic because of local market conditions. April's local unemployment rate of 3.9% was at a 10-month low; Colorado Springs sales tax revenues have showed solid gains of late; and tourism officials are bullish on the number of visitors coming to the area, among other indicators.
"The economy seems stable," Deming said. "We're seeing jobs coming into town, which is the lifeblood of our industry. We've been blessed as a community in my mind as to what we've experienced over the last (few) years. And looking forward, we hope we can maintain the same thing."
Meanwhile, local foreclosure activity continues to decline — also a positive sign for the housing market and economy.
Last month, the owners of 67 residential and commercial properties received notices that they've fallen into foreclosure, a nearly 11% drop from the same month in 2018, a report from the El Paso County Public Trustee's Office shows. Foreclosure notices go out after a homeowner misses mortgage payments or a commercial owner falls behind on a loan.
Foreclosure notices totaled 377 through the first five months of the year, down 3.1% on a year-over-year basis.
In 2018, the number of properties that fell into foreclosure totaled 908, a 19-year low.