New-home building holds fast in county

Construction of new homes dipped 4.5 percent nationally from September to October, according to Commerce Department statistics, while new-home construction in Mesa County stayed steady, remaining roughly half of what it was last year.

Nationwide, the Commerce Department reported new homes and apartments were being built at a rate of 791,000 units annually. That was down from September’s estimate of 828,000 units, the fourth-
consecutive monthly drop.

In Mesa County, home builders had pulled 657 permits as of the end of October, down from 1,180 at the same time in 2007, according to county records.

Home builders in the county “are taking the time to sell inventory before they go deeper into debt, and that’s a smart move,” said Bob Reece, president of Advanced Title Technology Inc. in Grand Junction.

Permits have been running about half the rate of last year for some months now, Reece said, “so it’s no real change.”

Home builders have repriced their products to entice buyers, Reece added.

“The market is quite different than it was two years ago,” he said.

The county has a supply of higher-end homes priced at $400,000 or more that will last for more than a year, but the inventory of lower-cost houses is tightening, said Rob Griffin, chairman of the Western Colorado Homebuilders Association.

The market is now down to about an eight-month inventory, and builders likely will start their hammers swinging again, he said.

“Those builders who are good business persons saw what was coming on,” he said.

“They understood there was some inventory out there.”

On a month-to-month basis, Mesa County permits pulled in October this year trailed those of October 2007, 77 to 85.


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