By: Rich Laden Colorado Springs Gazette
Home construction in the Pikes Peak region is off to a solid start in 2012.
Single-family homebuilding permits, which measure local construction activity, totaled 110 in February in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, according to a report released Thursday by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. That’s up nearly 70 percent from the 65 permits issued during the same month a year ago.
The first few months of the year are typically a slow time for home construction, but last month was the second-best February in the last five years.
For the first two months of 2012, single-family permits totaled 195, a one-third, year-over-year increase, Regional Building’s figures show.
Some members of the homebuilding industry have said they expect a better year in 2012 when it comes to construction, but they’ve also warned that Springs-area homebuilding has at least a few years to go before it fully recovers from the economic downturn of the last several years.
Meanwhile, foreclosure filings in the Springs and El Paso County totaled 301 in February, a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase, according to an El Paso County Public Trustee’s report. During the first two months of 2012, foreclosure filings totaled 586, down 16.2 percent from the same period last year.
Foreclosure filings — the start of the legal process that can lead to the loss of a residential or commercial property — have been slowing in the Pikes Peak region and much of the rest of Colorado over the past several months.
But another report released Thursday showed homeowners still have ground to make up when it comes to property values.
During the fourth quarter of 2011, 23.1 percent — or 35,732 — of Colorado Springs homeowners were underwater on their mortgages, or owed more on their homes than what they were worth, according to CoreLogic, a California-based housing data firm.
That compares with 21.7 percent, or 33,545 properties, in the third quarter of 2011, and 20.9 percent, or 31,996, in the fourth quarter of 2010.
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