The national news has a way of trickling down to local markets — and sometimes the news appears better closer to home.
For example, while U.S. home sales grew by 11 percent, year over year, based on Commerce Department and Census Bureau data released this week, industry experts cited lower home prices for the improvement.
Sales for May reached 384,000, up from the original projection of 346,000. That’s the strongest sales pace since November 2008, exceeding the forecasts of economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters by more than 6 percent.
The group had predicted 360,000 units would sell during the month.
And, while national residential sales rose for three straight months, prices moved lower. The national median sales price of $206,200 was down 12 percent from a year earlier and down nearly 6 percent from $219,000 during May.
Another research group, using a slightly different set of criteria, First American CoreLogic’s LoanPerformance Home Price Index reported a lower decrease in home prices.
The HPI showed national housing prices fell 9.2 percent during May. That was the smallest year-over-year decline so far during 2009, and the lowest since December 2007. In addition, May’s decline was a 0.5 percent improvement compared to the 9.7 percent decline during April.
Real estate brokers in Colorado Springs have their own take on the market’s recovery.
Jamie Mades of the Colorado Springs Team, wrote on his Web site in May that “… home sales were up 5.1 percent in March, 2009 … climbed 6 percent in April and May is expected to show some better numbers, too. In November 2008, home inventory was hovering about 11 months worth. As of May 10, 2009, home inventory was hovering around six months of inventory.”
According to CoreLogic’s HPI, Colorado Springs home price decreases got smaller as well.
Sales prices fell by 7.02 percent during May compared to a year ago. During April, Colorado Springs prices decreased by 7.60 percent compared to a year prior.
Year-to-date, the city’s attached single-family or patio home prices, according to the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, were off 11.8 percent compared to May of last year.
Two medical leases have brought the occupancy at Centennial Professional Building, 3470 Centennial Blvd., to 76 percent, said Kevin Patterson of The Patterson Group, the building’s owner.
The first was a 4,500-square-foot lease for Mountain View Medical Group’s family and pediatric practices. Ted Link and Brian Norton of Cascade Commercial Group represented the doctors.
In addition, the Colorado Hand Center leased 3,000 square feet and plans to move in next month.
Patterson handled both sides of the lease transaction.
Jim Johnson, CEO and owner of G.E. Johnson Construction Co., said the company is near completion on the new USOC building shell, and a payment has been worked out with LandCo Equity Partners and its financial partners.
So far, however, neither the city nor “any other entity” has contacted him.
Asked whether he expects the building to be move-in ready as originally scheduled, he estimated an interior build-out could take an additional four or five months, if work began right away.
“I’ve got to believe there’s a hard deadline out there,” he said, adding that City Attorney Pat Kelly and Deputy City Manager Mike Anderson have been working with City Council on the next phase of the project now that LandCo is out.
In the meantime, he said Baldwin Demolition had been paid for most its work, but he was not sure about the situation with asbestos removal contractor Innovar or Copestone Construction, which remodeled the national governing body headquarters building near America the Beautiful Park.
“It’s not over yet,” he said. “Let’s see where it goes. As squirrelly as this deal was, I’ve got a vested interest in this community — and would have been really upset if it didn’t get worked out.”
Even during a tough year for the economy, builder pride and talent is in full force. Twenty-four builders will showcase 29 homes in 19 communities throughout El Paso County in this year’s Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs-sponsored 2009 Parade of Homes.
The event’s main site will be at Cedar Heights, on lots developed by Nichols & Comito.
Surrounded by 300 acres of private open space and national parkland on three sides, the close-in mountainside community, originally developed by the Schuck Corp. during the 1980s, is 10 minutes from downtown.
Other sites, ranging from County Line Road to the north, Fountain on the south, Banning Lewis Ranch on the east and Cripple Creek to the west, also will be featured. Home prices will range from less than $200,000 to more than $2 million.
Trish Sorvald, HBACS spokeswoman, said the sites will be open Aug. 7-23.
Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit HBA Cares, the philanthropic arm of the CSHBA. The organization was responsible for construction of the Jay Zay Guest House at Penrose Hospital.
This year’s 2009 Parade of Homes builders are:
Capital Pacific Homes
Colorado Custom Homes
Hi-Point Home Builders
Homes by Michael Hall
Kenton Pass & Co.
Murphy’s Custom Homes
Nichols & Comito
Richmond American Homes
Robert Scott General Contractors
Solid Rock Custom Homes
Tara Custom Homes
Trammell Crow Residential
Yellico — Leach Home
Becky Hurley covers real estate for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.