Residential building surges in Durango, La Plata County

Area homebuilders are moving to make up for lost time after years of inactivity in Durango and La Plata County. New homes are being constructed on Sage View Drive in the Three Springs area. Enlargephoto

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Area homebuilders are moving to make up for lost time after years of inactivity in Durango and La Plata County. New homes are being constructed on Sage View Drive in the Three Springs area.

Residential building surged in Durango and La Plata County in 2013 as builders rushed to make up for years of inactivity that drove down inventories.

In Durango, new single-family building permits totaled 62 in 2013, up 69 percent from 35 in 2012. It was the most permits issued in the city of Durango since 2006.

The same trend held true in outlying areas of the county. Builders were issued 141 single-famly permits by La Plata County in 2013, a 48 percent increase from 95 in 2012.

The rush of building came after years of local builders sitting on the sidelines. When the real-estate market dropped in 2008, many builders pulled back on planned projects.

“We’ve really built no substantial inventory in the last five years,” said Emil Wanatka, president of Timberline Builders in Durango.

That’s left few options for buyers in some segments of the market. Wanatka pointed to a dearth of low-end homes: There are only six current listings for homes less than $300,000 in Durango, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

Houses of 1,500 to 2,200 square feet, and costing less than $500,000, are in strong demand, Martin said.

“There’s a huge market for that right now,” he said.

There’s some indication that the market for high-end homes is returning, as well. More million-dollar homes sold in 2013, but in some cases for less than the listed price, Wanatka said.

Multifamily projects also are coming back, aimed at addressing a shortage of rental housing in Durango. The city issued seven permits for multifamily projects in 2013, as many as in the previous four years combined.

The county issued three multifamily permits in 2013, after having none the previous five years.

“There’s quite a few multifamily projects going today that weren’t going the last few years,” Martin said.

The rental market is extremely tight, with few properties available and sharply rising rents.

cslothower@durangoherald.com

The number of building permits being issued in both Durango and La Plata County are up. The city issued 62 home building permits in 2013, a 69 percent increase from the year before. The county issued 141 single-family permits in 2013, a 48 percent increase from 2013. Enlargephoto

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

The number of building permits being issued in both Durango and La Plata County are up. The city issued 62 home building permits in 2013, a 69 percent increase from the year before. The county issued 141 single-family permits in 2013, a 48 percent increase from 2013.