|United Construction Group is currently building seven homes within a one-block area on Kirkwood Avenue in the Granville subdivision.|
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier/Courtesy
Special to the Tribune
A burst of building permits for single-family homes over the past fiscal year shows the beginnings of a recovery from the housing slump, at least in some jurisdictions in Yavapai County.
The Town of Prescott Valley issued 240 permits for single-family homes in 2012-13, triple the number that the town issued in the fiscal year that concluded June 30, 2012. Yavapai County issued 160 permits for single-family homes in 2012-13, up from 96 for 2011-12.
Single-family homes generally account for the most overall valuations of any building category. For instance, the 21 permits for single-family homes in Prescott Valley in June accounted for nearly half of the overall valuation of $8.7 million of the 142 total permits, according to a report from the Community Development Department.
The recently concluded fiscal year was the best year for single-family homes in Prescott Valley since 2008, Community Development Director Richard Parker said.
"We have exceeded the trend analysis that staff has been presenting to the Town Council quarterly," Parker said. "We believe that the current pace will continue to accelerate based on existing trends."
Parker continued, "Demand (for housing) is here. Part of the issue has been the inventory that remains in the existing developments. I think you are going to start seeing more subdivision plat submittals in the near future."
In the unincorporated area, the upswing in permit activity for single-family homes did not happen until the final three months of 2012-13, said Steve Mauk, development services director. The county issued 99 permits for single-family homes from January through June.
"I think we have finally seen the inventory of foreclosed homes dry up," Mauk remarked.
However, Mauk said the county area is lagging behind the nearby municipalities.
"You see more permitting inside the corporate limits" of municipalities because buyers now can afford to live within them, Mauk said.
"Five years ago there was a phrase, 'Drive until you qualify,'" he said.
A developer who took out three permits for single-family homes in June in the 1,875-lot Viewpoint subdivision north of Highway 89A in Prescott Valley cited an improving market.
Seth Poulsen, owner of Poulsen Development Co. in Farmington, Utah, said he started seeing the trend in 2012. He is also building homes in the Bright Star
subdivision east of Highway 89 in Chino Valley.
The developer of the remaining lots in the 3,800-lot StoneRidge subdivision south of Highway 69 in Prescott Valley sees other positive signs. Tom Lowe, president of Scottsdale-based Univest, cited refinancing of he debt for the community facilities district bond that has paid for streets and other improvements in StoneRidge.
The refinancing cut the interest rate on the CFD bond from 6.75 to 4 percent, Lowe said.
"And so, as a result, we have stabilized the CFD debt, and those taxes (on property owners) will go down each year as more and more homes are built," Lowe said. "People have known that this was going to be completed for a number of months, and I believe that has helped with the resurgence in home sales."
The pending resolution of the CFD issue, which Univest inherited from the former developer of StoneRidge, has helped home sales over the past six months to a year at StoneRidge, Lowe said.
Like Poulsen, Univest took out three building permits for single-family homes in June.
Building permit figures were unavailable from the City of Prescott in June.
Prescott-based Don Savage Builders announced in a news release that the company is "experiencing firsthand the benefits of a warming housing market."
Savage broke ground on two homes in its Cliff Rose subdivision off Highway 89 in Prescott, and is committed on two more lots.
"We have increased the value of our lots while keeping the cost of new home starts at an attractive price per square foot," Terry Savage, owner of Don Savage Builders, said in a prepared statement.
Home building has been more elusive in Chino Valley, which issued only seven permits for single-family homes in 2012-13 and nine in the previous fiscal year.
However, Project Manager Jim Reed of Mandalay Homes and others said they see signs the housing market is improving. "We are anticipating between 30 and 50 homes over the next 12 months," Reed said. His company is building homes in Bright Star. 'We are certainly seeing (building) activity increases, and (home) sale prices are coming back up."
Dewey-Humboldt reported a doubling of the issuance of permits for single-family homes to six in the 2012-13 fiscal year, said Warren Colvin, community development coordinator.