Local home construction dipped again last month, though the year-to-date pace of building continues to surpass that of 2017 by a healthy margin.
The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issued 289 permits for construction of single-family homes in El Paso County during September, a modest, 4.3 percent decline over the same month last year, according to a report by the agency Monday. It was the second straight monthly decline in permit activity.
Through the first three quarters of the year, however, single-family home permits totaled 3,088 — 15 percent higher than the same period last year. The year-to-date total also already exceeds several annual totals from post-Great Recession years, and homebuilding officials have said they expect this year to yield nearly 4,000 permits.
The industry, like the resale side of the local housing market, has benefited from a stronger local economy, more jobs and a surge in consumer confidence.
Historically low mortgage rates in recent years also have helped, although those rates have been climbing of late. Last week, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.78 percent nationally, a nearly 7½-year high, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
Homebuilding also has been buoyed by a tight inventory on the resale side, which has sent some buyers searching for new homes when they couldn’t find existing ones, building industry members have said.
Builders have said an influx of buyers from the Denver area also has boosted the local housing market; home prices here are tens of thousands of dollars less, and some Denver-area residents are willing to commute to their jobs from Colorado Springs and northern El Paso County.
The construction industry is a key part of the Pikes Peak region’s economy, and the pace of homebuilding is tracked closely by local economists, business people and government officials.
Thousands of people work in homebuilding here, including carpenters, framers, drywallers, electricians and plumbers. Also, sales taxes collected on sales of building materials funnel millions of dollars into local governments and help fund roads, parks and other basic services.
The Regional Building Department report tracks permits for single-family homes being built in Colorado Springs and smaller towns and cities in El Paso County, as well as unincorporated areas.