Monday, December 31, 2012

Housing News Digest, December 31

Modular homes offer answer to land-use problem in Colorado Springs COLORADO SPRINGS —It's taken a decade for Martin Newton of Pax Development to develop his tiny parcel on downtown Colorado Springs' east edge, but he's done so by effectively putting a series of square pegs into a rectangular hole. Five factory-built, modular homes were recently lifted by crane onto Newton's almost half-acre, rectangular parcel near Kiowa and El Paso streets; a sixth modular home is scheduled for delivery soon.

  Smokers need not apply at affordable housing complex Smokers looking for affordable housing in Colorado Springs can write the Uintah Park Apartments off their list. Greccio Housing bought the 21-unit complex at 2525 E. Uintah Street earlier this year, and in the process of renovating it, decided it was a good opportunity to make it the first non-smoking property in its inventory of housing for low- to middle-income people.

  Thornton considers mother-in-law houses Thornton may be the newest city in Adams County to offer residents the option to build an additional housing unit on their existing homes. City Council discussed allowing home owners to build accessory dwelling units, sometimes referred to as mother-in-law houses, during its Dec. 11 planning session. Current city building codes define accessory dwelling units as a single, yet separate dwelling unit that provides “complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.”

  Mixed Signals in Colorado's Economy The most recent economic data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show a decrease in the state unemployment rate from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November, reaching a 44-month low. However, it appears the most recent decline in the unemployment rate is for the wrong reasons. During the month of November workers exited the labor force and, by one measure, employment in Colorado decreased. The national unemployment rate also fell 0.2 percentage points from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent. The change in the national rate was largely due to an increase in employment, not the decrease in the size of the labor force. Also, enrollment in public assistance programs was mixed during November as Medicaid and CHP+ saw increases but enrollment declined in the SNAP program.

  Colo. gets $400M in military construction deals DENVER — The military awarded more than $400 million worth of construction contracts in Colorado in 2012, roughly in line with other years but especially significant as the state slowly emerges from the recession. The projects include facilities for a new helicopter unit at Fort Carson, a new operations center for top-secret defense intelligence agencies at Buckley Air Force Base, National Guard and reserve centers in Colorado Springs and Loveland, and renovations at the Air Force Academy.