Housing bright spot

Although the pace of home construction in Mesa County has been cut in half from a year ago, it is still faring better here than in the rest of the country. And that news, detailed in a Gary Harmon story in The Daily Sentinel last Friday, is certainly something to cheer.

Beyond that, there is the possibility that more new houses will be constructed beginning early next year. According to Rob Griffin, chairman of the Western Colorado Homebuilders Association, the inventory of lower-cost homes is declining, and some builders will likely begin adding to that inventory before long.

We hope he’s right. The construction industry has long been an important part of this region’s economy and the jobs it provides are generally good-paying ones.

However, the credit crisis nationwide has caused serious problems when it comes to borrowing for both home buyers and developers of housing projects.

Analysts attributed part of the sell-off in stocks last week to frozen credit, as banks continued to avoid the risk of lending funds to other institutions. And that trickles down to less money available at local levels for home mortgages and development. It’s one reason Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has been mounting his soapbox, urging banks to make more money available for borrowing.

As foreclosures have continued to rise nationwide, some banks and mortgage companies have become increasingly skittish about lending even to those with solid credit histories.

We hope the housing industry locally can continue to buck the national trends and can overcome the credit difficulties to maintain a solid pace in the coming year.


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