Campbell offers insight as new HBA president

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Kyle Campbell has become the face of homebuilding and land development in Colorado Springs. As the head of Classic Consulting, Engineers and Surveyors, a subdivision of Classic Homes, he oversees the company’s numerous land development and infrastructure projects. In November, after 15 years with the group, he was installed as the president of the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association.

Foreclosures seem to have stabilized, but a lot of people are predicting a second wave. Is that what you see?

We’ve seen the foreclosure reports and understand the predictions about another wave of foreclosures out there. I’m still confident that there’s an active homebuyer market. The big concern is that a lot of people in existing homes still need to sell those homes in order to buy a new one. That’s one of the biggest hurdles. We understand that there’s going to be a lot of competition with foreclosures as far as putting people in new homes, but there’s always a market for people who want to be in that new house. With the increasing availability of mortgages for qualified buyers, there’s still a market segment out there that homebuilders in the area are focused on. Whether it’s entry level, a move down or a move up, there’s still activity out there.

What do you see in the building permits data?

We’ve seen improvement from 2009 to 2010. A few months were flat or slightly down, but we saw a significant increase last year and we’re seeing it carry through. We’re optimistic that we’ve reached a stable point where the number of permits is no longer decreasing, so that makes us comfortable that we’ll either see it continue at that level or start to increase. We’d love to see it increase, I’m just not sure if that’s reasonable to expect for 2011 at this point.

Outside of the numbers, what does your gut tell you about where the market is heading?

What we saw last year, more than in years past, was the potential customers visiting our sales models are more qualified, and they’re looking for new homes. In years past, a lot of people were looking at models just to see if they could afford it. The people that are out there now seem to be qualified and actively looking for new homes. That’s the change we’ve seen. Now more than ever, when someone walks into a sales model, there’s a high potential that they’ll be a qualified borrower interested in a new home. We haven’t seen that in the past. Of course, there’s still not as many as we’d like there to be, but we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ve reached the bottom and we’re coming out of it.

There is some chatter that the mortgage interest deduction will be back on the table as lawmakers are increasingly concerned with the deficit. What is the HBA’s stance on this?

We are against any modification to the current deduction system in place right now. You’re correct, whenever there is a large federal deficit and lawmakers are looking for dollars, that’s one of the areas they seem to focus on. From a national level, the HBA will be actively working to make sure that any modification doesn’t take place. There will be a very vocal contingency within the industry to fight against that.