Housing market slows

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Growth in the single-family housing market in El Paso county is slowing, according to recent reports by researchers and the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.

Permits issued for new single-family homes totalled 244 in November. Permits for the same month in 1995 totalled 292, according to the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. This amounts to a drop of 16%.

At the end of the second quarter of 1996, permits were 53.1% ahead of 1995. But by the end of November, that figure dropped to 18% ahead of the same period in 1995.

Local economist Dave Bamberger said the slowing is not the beginning of the boom-bust cycle for which El Paso county is famous. He called the new statistics a “back to reality” growth rate.

“While we’re saying the market is slowing down, we have to remember we’re slowing down from a torrid growth rate,” Bamberger said.

New homes sales showed a similar trend with sales in September of 262 homes — down from July’s sales of 291, the highest single month sales in a decade.

Other market factors to consider when defining a slow trend are the number of homes listed for sale and the average amount of time until they sell.

There are 3,470 active residential listings so far in 1996 — up from the 1995 year to date total of 2,941.

Homes are selling in an average of 92 days, up from the 54-day average of 1995.

For the first nine months of 1996, 6,866 homes have sold, compared to 7,011 sold during all of 1995.

New and existing home buyers do agree on one thing: price.

New homes in the $125,000 to $150,000 price range accounted for 50.1% of the homes sold in the county, according to Home Builder’s Research. MLS statistics say the average sales price is $140,000 — up from last year’s $129,500.