New housing starts in Moffat County fell nearly 20 percent last year from the pace of 2001.
The data collected by the county's planning department shows permits were issued for 67 new homes, compared to 83 issued in 2001. Another 83 permits for homes were issued in 2000, while 99 homes went up in 1999, according to the county's data.
Included in those figures are custom modular units, as well as "stick-built" homes, said Pat Mosbey, Moffat County's building inspector.
"I don't know if it's a trend," Mosbey said of last year's dip.
Dan Kawcak, a broker with Craig's Western United Realty of Colorado, and market observer for three decades, believes it is. And things don't look to improve this year, he said.
"I can probably count all the new homes built on one hand, and they were all sold before they were built," Kawcak said of 2002 deals in a market he believes is priced artificially high.
"It's just a bad market," he said. "We're listing awfully high when you get about a half-dozen faxes a few days later with reduced prices on homes."
Kawcak believes the poor start-up climate can in part be attributed to increasing building material costs.
"You can only put so many dollars into a property and get it back," he said.
Meanwhile, 2002 start-up data suggests those moving to the country opted increasingly for custom modular homes, Mosbey said.
"It was about 50/50," he said of modular versus "stick-built" construction.
Of the 83 homes built in 2001, 56 of the permits were issued for custom modular homes.
"More people are going toward modulars because of affordability," he said.
Dave Costa, building inspector with the city of Craig, said a summary of the city's housing data is still in the works.
Paulx Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at email@example.com.