The pace of Colorado Springs-area home construction increased in May, reversing course from the previous month.
A report released Thursday by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department showed:
– The department issued 344 permits to builders and individuals for the construction of single-family homes in El Paso County during May, up 3.9 percent from the same month last year. In April, building permits had declined a little more than 7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
– Through the first five months of 2017, single-family permits totaled 1,435, a 1.2 percent increase over the same period last year.
– Although year-to-date single-family permits are running only slightly ahead of last year, the number still indicates a solid year for the homebuilding industry – based on recent history. Permits issued so far in 2017 already have surpassed annual totals for the four-year period from 2008 to 2011.
In general, local homebuilding has improved in recent years because of a stronger local economy, lower unemployment and affordable long-term mortgage rates, local homebuilders and economists have said.
Thirty-year, fixed mortgage rates that have been over 4 percent for much of the time since late 2016 have fallen the past two weeks. On Thursday, long-term rates averaged 3.94 percent nationally – lowest since Nov. 17, 2016, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
A tight supply of homes for sale on the resale side of the housing market also has led many buyers to purchase new homes, builders and economists have said. Meanwhile, Denver-area residents looking for cheaper housing have bought homes in northern portions of Colorado Springs and El Paso County.
Home construction is a closely watched part of the local economy.
The industry employs thousands of people who work in the trades; at the same time, sales taxes collected on the purchase of building materials helps pumps millions into the coffers of local governments that use the money to help fund basic services.