In all, 170 permits were issued in Windsor for single-family homes through the end of August, the highest number in all of Northern Colorado.
Fort Collins came in as a close second with 150 permits issued through the end of August, while Johnstown came in third with 123 permits, according to a report compiled by the Town of Windsor planning department.
One of the busier developers in Windsor is D.R. Horton, which has two developments in progress in the area, one in the Water Valley subdivision and the other near the intersection of State Highways 257 and 392 in a development called Windshire.
As of August 2011, Windsor had issued 47 building permits to D.R Horton, according to the Town of Windsor's latest single-family permit report. The homes in Water Valley are priced from $389,000 to $449,000 and the Windshire homes are priced between $188,000 and $239,000. Median list price for a home in Windsor was $377,362 as of Oct. 10.
Construction in the region is seeing a "glimmer of hope," according to Steve Spanjer, president of Spanjer Homes, due in part to rock-bottom interest rates and the tiniest bit of increased confidence on the part of consumers. "Home buyers aren't quite so fearful as they were at the beginning of the recession," Spanjer said. "And this is the lowest interest rates have been since I've been on the planet."
Still, a decrease in the availability of financing makes building new homes difficult, he said. Underwriting standards imposed on lenders make it difficult for would-be borrowers to qualify for loans. To a degree, national builders don't have that problem, Spanjer said.
They aren't as dependent on financing from banks and other institutions because their funding comes primarily from investors, making it easier to get started on new developments.
In addition, builders such as D.R. Horton have a game plan they have executed repeatedly, which can help them cut down on architecture and engineering costs, according to Doug Lindstrom of Legacy Partners Realty. Even with higher home prices than surrounding areas, Windsor is an attractive place to live due to the quality of life there, according to Lindstrom. "Water Valley is also a great draw for many reasons including resort-style living, golf, fishing, boating, dining and incredible scenery," Lindstrom said.
Even the most modest of increases in construction in Northern Colorado is good news in light of conditions nationally.
Nationally, housing starts fell 5.8 percent from August 2010 to August 2011, with total housing starts falling to 53,000 from 56,300.