The pace of homebuilding in the Colorado Springs area fell in November for the fourth month in a row, a likely byproduct of builders who slowed production because they run out of materials and supplies and failed. enough workers.
“Product availability and labor,” said Chad Thurber, president of local builder Vantage Homes and incoming chairman of the Colorado Springs Housing & Building Association board of directors. “They have tormented our industry locally and I don’t know if anyone got away with it.”
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In November, building permits issued for the construction of single-family homes totaled 255 in El Paso County, a drop of 38.7% from the same month last year, according to a report released this week by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, a city-county. agency that oversees residential and commercial construction.
Permits for single-family homes have now declined on a year-over-year basis every month since August, according to figures from the Regional Construction Department. The permit numbers reflect the construction of detached single family homes, not townhouses, duplexes, condominiums or apartments.
“It seems like every week we find a new product or material that has supply issues,” Thurber said. “Whether it’s availability, period, that it’s no longer produced or that they can’t have enough to fill orders.”
For example, Vantage Homes’ truss supplier is “substantially behind” in production relative to demand, Thurber said.
“We can have a foundation wait of up to two months, between being ready for mentoring and being able to start framing, due to the delay in the farms,” he said.
Tom Hennessy, president of Challenger Homes of Colorado Springs, said some builders are struggling to get products like appliances, windows and garage doors. As a result, they could slow down construction activity.
“A lot of the builders I talk to just don’t want to go overboard on their skis,” Hennessy said. “They just limit their production so they can meet customer demands and not be delayed and deliver a house a year later because they couldn’t get all the parts.”
A shortage of skilled and skilled labor has also caused production to slow down for some manufacturers, Hennessy and Thurber said.
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Springs area home builders and commercial contractors, like their counterparts in other markets, have been struggling with a labor shortage for several years.
Their subcontractors, such as electrical, plumbing, carpentry, concrete and landscaping companies, cannot find the workers they need. Or, once hired, some workers show up one day but don’t come back the next day.
This problem has been exacerbated over the past two years as housing demand accelerated, fueled in large part by historically low mortgage rates.
“There is certainly no additional supply of labor in the market,” Hennessy said. “If the crews are absent, then things stop. That’s a big part of that.”
Vantage Homes also has a smaller number of hospitality sites, or lots, than usual, Thurber said. The lack of sites acts as a “natural governor” on Vantage’s ability to build and the company has taken a controlled approach to the number of homes it sells, he said.
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Still, overall, new home purchases remain strong in Colorado Springs, although they have slowed from the breakneck pace this summer, Hennessy said. New home purchases, Thurber added, have returned to a more normal pace.
Even as home builders grapple with supply and labor issues, the region’s residential construction industry is having a productive year.
In the first 11 months of 2021, building permits for single-family homes totaled 4,093, according to figures from the Regional Construction Department. This is a slight decrease of 1.3% from the 4,148 permits issued during the same period last year.
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Despite the drop, permits have now passed 4,000 for the second year in a row – the first time permits have exceeded that mark in consecutive years since 2004 and 2005, according to figures from the regional construction department.
“It’s still a really good market,” Thurber said.