Three indicators, described in the Quarterly Update by the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, show the local economy has continued its growth since the summer of 2011. The best performance indicators were new single family permits, up 26.1 percent; consumer sentiment, up 29.8 percent; and new vehicle sales, up 8.9 percent.
The residential housing market picked up noticeably in March 2011 and stayed strong through 2012 – new housing permits were 819 higher than in 2011. And, 2013 is starting strong, said the report, whose authors are Drs. Tom Zwirlein and Fred Crowley, both professors at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
“Support for residential construction is attributed to pent up demand, attractive pricing and record low mortgage rates,” the report said.
Residential permits are expected to grow by 17.3 percent this year.
New vehicle registrations bottomed out in the first quarter of 2009. Now, new vehicle registrations are on the rise, most likely because of rising consumer sentiment, the return of the troops to Fort Carson and pent up demand, the report said.
December was a big month for auto dealers, according to the Colorado Springs Sales and Use Tax Collections report. Sales taxes collected in January, which represent the sales of December, were up 1.5 percent over last December. That gain put the whole year 5.64 percent ahead of last year for about $128 million in collections to the city’s general fund.
The city can thank a drop in gasoline prices in 2012. Gas dropped to the $2.65 per gallon range and that spurred consumer spending, the forum’s report said.