Saturday, October 12, 2002
Steamboat Springs A 10.8-percent decrease in building valuations is largely a result of a slide in major commercial projects, said the chief building officer for the Routt County Regional Building Department.
Mark Marchus said the year-to-date construction value of $81 million is actually higher than what he forecasted. The total through September 2001 was $91 million.
"(The decrease) was anticipated," Marchus said. "It had nothing to do with Sept. 11. It has more to do with the reeling back of commercial projects within town."
Marchus said there was a huge jump in values in 1998 and 1999 driven by major projects like the Sheraton, Steamboat Grand Summit Hotel, Yampa Valley Medical Center and condos near the base of the mountain. The drop in 2001 and 2002 is the return to normal construction levels.
Construction in Steamboat is valued at $41 million so far this year, compared to the $48 million valued by September of 2001. Routt County, Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa have year-to-date totals of $40 million compared to $42.7 million at this time last year.
"The county has been on a fairly nice incline and it is picking up every year," Marchus said. "In the city of Steamboat Springs, (the bigger projects) have really skewed the numbers to indicate a big increases in valuation, which we did have. We've seen the vigorous commercial activity in the late 1990's. But, this is returning back to normal."
Marchus said the national economy's post-Sept.11 decline has had an impact on the housing market. He said the 200-point drop in the stock market over the last year has kept people from building homes, particularly high end second homes.
But, he also noted that mortgage interest rates of 6 percent have kept the building rate for homes below $500,000 steady from last year.
Marchus predicts that more than 200 new homes will be built in the county by the end of the year.
Steamboat saw building permits for four single-family homes in September, one less than August. The number of units for the entire year is 89, compared to the 109 units from last year at this time.
The county, Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa saw 10 single family homes for September, which was two less than the previous month. The year-to-date total at the end of September for the area outside of Steamboat was 101 units, which is one more than last year at this time.
Marchus said September is one of the busiest months for the building department as builders try to lay foundations and get permits before winter comes.