2016: Great year for home builds in El Paso County
Houses popped up all over in the place in 2016
COLORADO SPRINGS -
2016 was a good year for the local housing market. In El Paso County, there were more than 3,200 new builds. That's up 18 percent over last year, and the most since 2006.
Homes were popping up left and right in 2016, especially on the north side of Colorado Springs, and it certainly kept builders busy.
"Subcontractors are working harder, faster, longer hours and scrambling to find extra workers. They are not slacking by any means," said Mark Long with Vanguard Homes.
Realtors and builders said there are a couple of reasons for it: improving economy, skyrocketing costs in Denver, a lack of available homes forcing people to build their own, and even politics.
"Here it's predominately Republican so the election of Republican President probably buoyed a lot of people's hopes and dreams as it were," Long said.
There was a 30 percent increase in home builds in December alone. But homes weren't the only thing going in -- apartment builds were up 55 percent over last year.
"Every time I turn around we're adding a new apartment complex," said Roger Lovell with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.
You would think that would be a good thing when it comes to the city's high rent costs, but Lovell said the numbers just aren't there yet.
"There's obviously a need for apartment units. Building industry keeps adding more apartment units, vacancy rates remain very low. The ones getting built are getting filled up," Lovell said, but, "supply is still relatively weak compared to demand."
The other big question that comes with an increase of this size is whether or not the housing bubble is about to burst. "No way," Long said. In fact, he thinks 2017 is going to be another busy year.
"If I had to just throw a dart, I'd say 10 percent," he said.
Even though conditions are right for another good year, finding enough workers could be another problem. Long said they were already scrambling for workers in 2016, and if things keep going up in 2017, the shortage could slow things down.